Friday, April 30, 2010

Swimming Pool Consultation and the cuts - What Cllr Graham Vine had to say at the Ward Forum

Continuing our report of events at the Nairn Ward Forum on Wednesday evening

Graham Vine was the next to ask Nairn’s four Highland Councillors a question. He expanded onto the modus operandi of the cuts process in general:

‘Could I ask our elected members. We were invited to participate in a consultation. How are we supposed to be able to understand all those massive big budget items in Highland Council? You are our elected members whose duty is to scrutinise the activities of the Highland Council officers on our behalf. We should look to you to tell us how we can save money, where we can save money, because you should understand those budgets. All (didn’t get the next few words here) a figure of two or three hundred million pounds for this that or the other. We don’t know if that’s going on front-line services or whether half of it is frittered away on consultants or liaison managers or whatever. You’re the guys that should be telling us what you’re going…’

Graham was then interrupted by Liz.

‘Thank you for this Graham,’ she said. ‘That was exactly the point my group made about the consultation process. That it is up to elected members to make the choices. There wasn’t enough information for the public to understand it. If they decided against one thing what would they actually have as something else. So you’re right. (didn’t get Liz’s next sentence unfortunately)

‘Thank you,’ said Graham.

Sandy then rejoined the debate ‘Obviously with the consultation you can ask the very question of the Director of Finance. This is a six,seven hundred million pound business. You know, this is a very complex budget process. We’re going through a consultation process of fifteen meetings in the next month. We’re going through the same in all wards in the Highlands. I’m really pleased with the meeting tonight.’

The meeting continued…

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