Games people play: naked scare tactics to stop support for Reform Group proposal

It is, of course, an inverted compliment that the current administration at Argyll and Bute Council saw The Reform Group proposal for cost reduction via radical restructuring of management as the sort of threat to the leaden status quo that Council Leader Walsh resorted, as usual, to the low road.

With the council meeting nearing, a letter to The Reform Group’s Councillor Breslin was channelled through an officer, warning:

‘…this proposal will create a basis for the majority, if not all, of the Chief Officers to pursue claims for constructive dismissal/compulsory redundancy and resulting cost would be significant’.

This was clearly intended as a frightener – but just to be sure to be sure – the biggest bruiser of the lot, Executive Officer, Douglas Hendry, long chief henchman to Council Leader Walsh, took care openly to express the same threat in the council meeting, to frighten the woodentops.

This tactic could hardly have been more blatant.

The joke is that the dismissal of  ‘the majority, if not all, of the Chief Officers ‘ would be the most constructive action offering hope for a better future for this ramshackle council.

Until this stable is fully cleared out, what is a disabling and diseased culture will endlessly replicate itself. The second and third tier have learned the only ropes they know how to use from the old hands at the top who crafted them.

Council Leader Walsh coolly announced, in his self congratulatory budget press release, that the administration will be making ‘an investment, from our financial reserves and capital funding, of some £75 million designed to attract more people to live and work here, securing employment and prosperity for our area’.

With Councillor Walsh’s long track record as Council,Leader showing evidence only of a declining population, a shrinking economy and a ravaged infrastructure, Argyll, smart gamblers will make money on ‘nul points’ resulting from this wildly irresponsible throwing of £75 million after bad.

And how can he hope that throwing £75 million from reserves can hope to attract anyone to live in an Argyll that is going to look even more down at heel from his now adopted policies:

  • to reduce road repair and maintenance [and from what a low base];
  • to reduce property repair and maintenance – including the school estate;
  • to let roadside scrub hedges and grass verges go uncut during the entire growing – and visitor – season;
  • to reduce support staff of all kinds in Argyll’s schools;
  • and to reduce the provision of supply teachers who cover in the case of major staff absences.

It would be comparably bucket-shop cheap and far more productive to forget all about this waste of £75 million – and make all of the chief officers compulsorily redundant and pay whatever it cost for the boon.

Seriously – what has any one of them got to commend them? What has any one of them positively achieved?

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Related Articles & Comments

  • ‘…this proposal will create a basis for the majority, if not all, of the Chief Officers to pursue claims for constructive dismissal/compulsory redundancy and resulting cost would be significant’.

    Let them… the costs would be a good use of some of the the reserves..

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 27 Thumb down 3

    Ian Sanderson February 14, 2016 12:14 am Reply
  • Oh happy day! What a great chance to clear out the detritus from the stagnant and murky backwater which passes for local government in Argyll.

    My only regret is that the worst of this collection of second rate apparatchiks has already bailed out, it would have been so much more satisfying to see her depart under duress.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 5

    S.White February 14, 2016 2:04 am Reply
    • Just be happy she is going.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

      KEITHO February 14, 2016 10:18 am Reply
  • Well said by newsroom, “the dismissal of the majority, if not all, of the Chief Officers would be the most constructive action offering hope for a better future for this ramshackle council”. This is a failing and fatally flawed Council, still being investigated by the Accounts Commission, why on earth did those Councillors, present last Thursday, who had any self respect left in them, after being effectively threatened by a senior official, politely open the door of Kilmory and invite those officers who wished to leave now, to just get off their backsides and go! The answer of course is that the majority of them have been trained as puppies by those self same officers, and in return for treats, (responsibility allowances, excessive expenses and external appointments), they set aside their dignity and self respect, to vote, as Newsroom points out, “like woodentops”. You only have to take a very cursory look at those Councillors voting in favour of the Cllr. Walsh budget to begin to realise just how awful our `political leadership’ is in Argyll. The names read like a Kennel Club role of honour, McQueen, Scoullar, Morton x 2, McAlpine, Currie, McMillan, Robertson, MacDougall. We, as the people of Argyll have only ourselves to blame if we cannot persuade decent citizens of Argyll, who genuinely have the peoples interests at the forefront of their thinking, to stand for election to this failing Authority. As for the ragamuffin group of officers threatening `constructive dismissal’, let them go and let’s take the consequences, (from A&B reserves if necessary), the long term savings cannot be other than immense!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 26 Thumb down 4

    fear an croit February 14, 2016 10:37 am Reply
    • Fear an croit,
      Great post.
      .
      Mary Jean Devon votes to make the school librarians redundant and then gets involved in the petition, “save our school librarians”.
      That promoter of all things socialist, Keiron Green’s pal and Argyll and Bute’s only Labour councillor votes for more austerity. Neil MacIntyre lately the Library bus operator votes also to get rid of school librarians.
      You couldn’t make it up.
      Get rid.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 3

      KEITHO February 14, 2016 4:27 pm Reply
    • Fear An Croit – haven’t you (deliberately?) missed some of those “kennel club” members that voted with dastardly Dick!

      Maybe I’m wrong but how did Newsie’s newest and bestest friends, the Conservatives, Maurice Corry, David Kinniburgh and Gary Mulvaney vote?
      Clue: Woof-woof!

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 8

      Simon February 14, 2016 4:51 pm Reply
  • This could all be avoided if the political administration was separated from the officers. The employees should become a public service bureau with whom the political administration contracts for the services. Ideally the bureau will become the nucleus of a university department of public administration. Separation of powers and innovation. What’s not to like?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

    Graeme McCormick February 14, 2016 7:25 pm Reply
    • I think Graeme needs the opportunity to elaborate on his public service bureau proposal. He’s made this before but the detail needs airing.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

      Cllr Michael Breslin February 16, 2016 8:14 am Reply
  • If they did sue for constructive dismissal then they would have to show they were doing a good job for the benefit of ALL in Argyll & Bute I would love to hear how the ADP fiasco would be explained in court

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

    Steve February 14, 2016 10:36 pm Reply
  • Geez, you are right Simon, there are many more, but they are, `Johnny come latelys’, to the kennel club hall of sha….oop’s, I meant fame. The Devon and MacIntyre votes for austerity are just surreal

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

    fear an croit February 14, 2016 10:49 pm Reply
  • What a joke! Any organization can restructure its management perfectly legally by following the correct procedures. “Constructive dismissal” is usually only banded about by those with little or no knowledge of employment law in practice. The Executive should only ever have been employed on 3 year fixed term contracts in any event.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

    Arfur Sixpence February 15, 2016 10:23 am Reply

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