A local weekly newspaper based in the Leopold Street area is suggesting that Highland Council's failure to administer the lease for the caravan site correctly has resulted in the loss of a six figure sum to the Nairn Common Good Fund. On Friday we commented on the Inverness Courier's take on the situation - more in this article here. Cllr Michael Green has also told the Gurn his view on the incredible revelation, here's what he has to say:
"Improvements in governance and administration by Highland Council of the Nairn Common Good Fund are both welcome and overdue. Liz Cowie and Lynne Maclennan deserve nothing but the highest praise forthe results they are achieving in the onerous and ongoing task of updating the NCGF Asset Register. In addition, I welcome the vital scrutiny role carried out by the Nairn Badenoch and Strathspey Area Committee as regards the NCGF.
As I was attending the three day Nairn South Appeal, I was unable to attend the Area Committee on Wednesday 11th June. As outlined in sections 4.2 and 4.3 of the report there has been a serious failure by Council officials in the administration of the Parkdean lease, whereby rent reviews in 1999 and 2006 were not implemented. This has resulted in very substantial losses of income to the NCGF. It is a matter of regret that our Area Leader and/or officials did not see fit to provide more detailed financial information regarding the sums involved.Information which would have provided the people of Nairn with the transparency and clarity the seriousness of the episode demands and which they have for so long lacked.
However, ongoing discussions are taking place between local trustees and Highland Council officials regarding options to recompense the NCGF for the significant monies lost.
Looking forward, the detailed work now being carried out by Highland Council in updating the Asset Register,plus improvements to administration and reporting, will ensure a more robust and open management of the NCGF
Of greater concern is the lack of scrutiny and oversight by long standing trustees which allowed this situation to develop. The Parkdean lease is the NCGF’s single largest source of income and the financial repercussions of their inaction could be considerable.
I am of the opinion that the people of Nairn need to have a much greater say in determining the role of their Common Good Fund in local affairs. Consequently, I feel this is an appropriate time to start a discussion with the people of Nairn, starting with the Community Councils, as to how they see that role developing."
Michael Green said, "It is a matter of regret that our Area Leader and/or officials did not see fit to provide more detailed financial information regarding the sums involved.Information which would have provided the people of Nairn with the transparency and clarity the seriousness of the episode demands and which they have for so long lacked."
He then added, "Of greater concern is the lack of scrutiny and oversight by long standing trustees which allowed this situation to develop."
Quite so. I couldn't have put it better myself. Those responsible for the failures should be held accountable, not protected by anonymity from the consequences of their inaction.
a six figure sum?
Something between £100,000 and £999,999 then?
Am I the only one who is getting a wee bit fed up of the effusive back slapping which some of the Councillors direct towards the Highland Council officials? Most of them are very well paid for the job they are supposed to be doing - save the praise for their annual reviews!
Sorry, shouldn't councillors have responsibility for what officials are doing on their behalf?
Time for resignations please!
Was I wrong in thinking the four local councillors had responsibility to ensure the ongoing management of the CGF?
I suppose I mean the trustees, are they someone other than the councillors, does anyone know?
@ Miss Trust - are you sure that there were two of the present crop in office at the time? First mess up was in 1999 and second one in 2006 - could you do some research on that please and come back with some data that proves your statement.
If the folk in charge of the common good were bankers we'd be giving them bonus payments for having got it so wrong. Well done whoever you are
Trouble is that any means of providing compensation will just be a redistribution of our money paid over in taxes. Maybe they should make the accountable officials take unpaid gardening leave for a year or long enough for their salaries to make up the shortfall.
Never forget that in general any money that HC 'spend' is our money in the first place.
Highland Council elections, 6 May 1999: Liz MacDonald, 450 votes, elected for "Nairn Ninian" ward. Laurie Fraser, 583 votes, elected for "Nairn Cawdor" ward. Source: Wikipedia.
Highland Council accounts, presented annually to full Council. So.... an opportunity at least once in each of the last 14 years to ask questions about the income, expenditure and management of the Nairn Common Good Fund.
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