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East Renfrewshire Council apologise after message posted from official Twitter account Print E-mail

East Renfrewshire council has apologised after a member of staff tweeted: "Alistair shut yer pus!!!" from its official account during the televised referendum debate.

The Council has launched an investigation and issued an apology after the message was posted online during Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling's second televised debate.

It appeared on the local authority's official Twitter account at around 9.25pm on Monday when an employee posted "Alistair shut yer pus!!!".

The council removed the post and issued an online apology before a further statement was released on Tuesday.

They tweeted: "Apologies folks. Personal views being expressed through council Twitter and situation now in hand. No offence meant."

A spokeswoman said the incident was "unacceptable" and said an investigation had been launched.

She added: "East Renfrewshire Council would like to apologise for any offence caused by an inappropriate tweet during the referendum debate.

"This was an unacceptable use of the council’s Twitter account. This would appear to be a genuine human error, which we are investigating, and measures are in place to make sure that this does not happen again."

 
Is an East Ren Cllr being economical with the truth in order to secure popularity in his adopted fiefdom? Print E-mail

NEWSLINE was alerted to the following letter that has been put through doors of houses in Woodfarm, Thornliebank.

This area was always thought of as the stronghold of Jim Fletcher (Labour) however it would appear that Vincent Waters (SNP) has aspirations to take over the lead in this ward.

From the letter we can see that Cllr Waters is claiming sole responsibility for the allocation of Scottish Government funds to upgrade only houses in Woodfarm over all others in East Renfrewshire.

Cllr Vincent Waters

Quote “I made a strong case to the Housing service that it should be the flats in Woodfarm that had this money spent on them”


Letter from Vincent Waters

This refers to rendering work and we have contacted Cllr Waters and requested he confirm that this grant relates to the £459,054 allocated to East Ren as part of the Scottish Governments Energy efficiency measures to target fuel poverty. However Cllr Waters has refused to respond.

Newsline understand that this is part of a £60 million package that was provided to the Scottish Government by the UK Government.

The choice of where the £459,054 split for East Ren was to be spent was solely the responsibility of ERC staff and not Councillors, and indeed we are led to believe that the grant has already been split between Thornliebank and a suburb of Barrhead.


Houses after rendering

Just what the other elected members for this ward think about this we do not know, Cllr Wallace and Cllr Fletcher have failed to respond to requests for comment.

 
ERC spend £677,000 a year on solicitors Print E-mail

It has been revealed that during the last 12 months ERC have spent in the region of £163,000 (Exc VAT) to engage the services of solicitors. These fees only apply to around 34 individual matters and on only one occasion does it include a Queens Council (£18,000 Exc VAT), the remainder of the costs are in relation to solicitors.

These figures were obtained under a Freedom of Information Request.

However Newsline has also established that ERC currently employ one Chief Solicitor. one Principle solicitor, five Senior solicitors, two Solicitors and two Trainee solicitors.

We are aware that the last Chief Solicitor was on a salary of £113,686 and a check of a national pay scale search engine shows the average salary at £50,000 for a senior, £33,000 for a solicitor and £17,000 for a trainee.

That would appear to equate to at least an annual bill of £514,000 to employ a legal staff of eleven solicitors.

Yet even with that amount of expertise this council requires to pay out at least £163,000 (Exc VAT) to deal with matters of concern.

 
Chair of Community Council bans recording of his public meetings Print E-mail

Savio D’Souza who is the chair of Giffnock Community Council has issued a decree that he will evict anyone found to be recording his public community council meetings.

Savio D’Souza

In the meeting of March 2014 he is quoted as indicating that meetings are open to the public, however he then informs members to be vigilant about any unauthorised use of mobile phones and Ipads.

One CC member commented about the intimidating affect resulting in people feeling that they are not free to speak as a result.

The entire CC then agreed that that any individual suspected will be immediately asked to leave and could be evicted from the premises.

Just where Mr D’Souza thinks that he has the authority or power to evict a member of the public from a public meeting is a matter of concern.

All community council meetings by legislation are open to the public.

Since public meetings are open to absolutely everyone, no one speaking out at a meeting can claim they were speaking "off the record" or otherwise speaking privately, so just why would anyone wish to prevent a recording being made.

Will the next step by Savio D’Souza be to prevent members of the public taking pen and paper to record notes.

UK Legislation supports the use of recording the ‘open’ parts of meetings, even under European Human Rights legislation.

Newsline has contacted Mr D’Souza and provided him with an opportunity to comment on his apparent strange take on democracy, we will report his comments in full if he replies.

 
ERC stand accused of forcing Clarkston businesses to the wall Print E-mail

NOT content with chasing customers away from the main shopping street in Clarkston by targeting short stay motorists, council wardens are now targeting drivers who park in the free Clarkston Halls car park.

Despite the ongoing review into parking by the council and a belief that Jim Murphy MP and Ken McIntosh MSP had secured free parking in the car park above the main group of shops, and that the wardens would be more accommodating in their approach during this period of review, none of this has happened.

Indeed the parking charges in the car park above the main shops has been increased 400% by the landlords. It now costs 60 pence for any stay up to two hours.

To make matters worse the council's parking enforcement team have it seems been instructed to target cars parked in the Clarkston halls car park in what they claim to be unauthorised bays.

This car park has 90 marked bays and parking in free all day. There are no signs indicating that you cannot park outside these bays and the only sign that is erected directs users to regulations available from the council offices.

Newsline understands that drivers who arrive after all of the 90 bays have been filled utilise the unmarked perimeter of the car park and there have been no complaints of any causing obstructions.

Debra Clapham a local business owner said “How can the actions of the Council be seen as other than a money making exercise and how do these actions sit squarely with a Council which states that it wishes to promote local businesses and shopping locally? I have today taken an endless stream of calls from businesses in relation to the ticketing in the car park-the officials have been there on two consecutive days this week-in all about 20 cars a day have been booked- is this not a revenue generating issue?”

Councillor Stewart Miller said to Newsline “Perhaps the question should be asked, does our council want Clarkston Town Centre to survive because if they do, they have a very strange way of showing it.” There are people in Aidan's Brae crying out for the council to do something about irresponsible parking, yet we seem powerless to help, and our wardens would appear to have been ordered in to car park. A bit of common sense would go a long way”

NEWSLINE visited the car park mid Friday morning and the normally full car park was at least 1/3 empty, a sure sign that drivers are staying away from the car park and as a result the businesses will undoubtedly loose custom.

 

A normally full car park is now 1/3 empty

We have provided East Renfrewshire Council with the opportunity to comment.

 
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