Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sandown Debt Controversy - dramatic new moves outlined at West CC meeting tonight (Weds)

The debate moved down from its airing in the Academy at the Suburban CC meeting last night to the monthly gathering of the Westies in the Community Centre tonight. Michael Green revealed a dramatic change in strategy for our four local councillors at the Highland Council meeting tomorrow. Regular readers will be au fait with the background so far but if you are new here then please read a few of the posts below this one. 

Michael Green said tonight: “Things have moved on quite dramatically at a local level. Tomorrow we are going to put forward another option which is going to be for deferral. Now that’s the four Nairn councillors that are putting that forward. The reason we are going to cite, and we have to cite a specific reason, is actually going back to the December paper.”

Michael then quoted from that December paper extracts which he said were related to the £730,000 in its entirety: “Clarity over the substance of the original transaction is essential to avoid a situation whereby the Council may be deemed to have acted unlawfully. Recommendations: Note that the legality of the transaction is being reviewed by Audit Scotland.” Gurnites can read the report that Michael quoted from here.

Michael then continued: “Basically they haven’t received a report from Audit Scotland. […] The background papers and you’re expecting we, the trustees of the Nairn Common Fund to arrive at their decision on the basis of six lines. I don’t think it’s competent and I don’t think it’s fair. So we have asked for a deferral and we will come back to the Council towards the end of the year. From my own perspective and from the other members perspective we need to get the transparency on this. We need to actually address each of the issues that have been raised. That will require a lot of work which the four of us have agreed to do – to prepare this as trustees to come back to provide a background report whereby then, our fellow trustees can make an informed decision. […] Because if we don’t address this suitably I think prejudice, jeopardise, compromise the Nairn Common Good Fund for decades actually. Folk would lose confidence in it and I don’t think we would be able to get the benefits that we need to get from the Nairn Common Good fund. 

Michael said he didn’t really know how things would go but if the motion for deferral falls then the Nairn councillors would back option 5 once again.  Please see this report here for details of the five options on the table.

In another dramatic development West Councillor Bill Young revealed that he had reported the Highland Council Director of Finance to a professional body. He said:

”The essential point is, I don’t think it is necessarily the Councillors, it is the quality of the information which has been fed to the councillors by the officials. That report which has been prepared by the Director of Finance is grossly misleading to the extent that I’ve actually reported him to the professional body for doing that. These people need guidance, help and assistance to get a proper decision and to feed the rubbish which was contained  in that report to them as fact is so grossly wrong, I think it needs to be reported and I have done so.”

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