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Provost Carmichael took a 200-yard trip in a chauffeur-driven BMW - Paid by the public of East Ren Print E-mail

Published 9th April 2015

PROVOST Alastair Carmichael took a 200-yard trip in a chauffeur-driven BMW in order to attend an apparent activity that was not listed on the Provosts official Council engagements.

On Sunday 25th January 2015 Provost Carmichael had the Council chauffeur attend on his day off at Thornliebank Depot and uplift the council car, which is a BMW 520se, registration number HSO and meet him at Council Headquarters, Eastwood Park.

He then required to drive the Provost 200 yards to Giffnock South Parish Church where he attended a normal Sunday service and was driven back to Eastwood Park.

For those unfamiliar with the area the council headquarters is on the west side of Eastwood Toll and the church is on the east side.

This raises a number of questions;

Why in these days of apparent austerity would the Provost be authorising the use of the official council car and the overtime payment (day off rates) to the chauffeur when he could have just walked the 200 yards, or driven there himself in his own car.

Why was this not listed in his official list of engagements for January 2015?

Why was he there in the first place, what was his purpose?

LETS put to bed the falsehood that tends to be rolled out time and again by the Provost that his chain of office is valued at hundreds of thousands of pounds and he simply 'could not travel by bus', for fear of being robbed.

As a result of an FOI we have learnt that this chain is insured for £6,000.


We are also aware that the chain is made of tin plate and scrap value would be minimal, the insurance value would appear to reflect its status rather that its actual monetary value.

AT full council meetings there is a requirement for the Deputy Chief Executive to report of the Provosts engagements.

The following format is used "Since the last meeting of the Council, the Provost has attended a number of civic engagements on behalf of the Council and carried out a number of civic duties. Details are as follows:-"

However there is no listing of the visit to Giffnock South Parish Church as an official council engagement.

WHY would Alastair Carmichael role out the official car, chauffeur and his chain of office for a normal church service.

Could it have anything to do with this man.


Savio D'Souza and Cllr Carmichael

Much more to follow..........................

 
Is the convenor for the environment in the huff ? Print E-mail

Published 9th April 2015

COUNCILLOR Vincent Waters has suddenly stopped attending Thornliebank Community Council meetings without providing any explanation.

He has never been to any meetings since December 2014 where he was requested to stop playing with his electronic device by the chair of the CC.

January / February / March and April there have been no sightings of Cllr Waters and no apologies for his non attendance.

This leaves speculation that he does not like being told off and has thrown his teddy out of the pram over the issue.

NEWSLINE contacted him and provided him with the opportunity to comment, however he failed to respond.

Cllr Waters

 
Have Giffnock Community Council called time on ‘Embracing’ the community? Print E-mail

Published 28th March 2015

In December 2011 a sculpture was unveiled in Giffnock as part of plans to make the area a business and shopping hotspot, however it would appear that the community council wish it to be removed and re-located in Clarkston.

rings.jpg



The venture was led by Giffnock Community Council and funded by East Renfrewshire Council, the Big Lottery and contributions from Prem Glasgow LLP and Whole Foods.

The council contribution alone was £51,290 plus VAT.

The total cost is thought to be in excess of £80,000 for the placing of the artwork, by artist Jephson Robb, entitled "Embrace" which is sited just outside the Whole Foods Market.

At that time the Community Council Chairman, Hugh Moore said: "Composed of two interconnecting rings, the polished bronze sculpture creates a special sense of place and a focal point for Giffnock.

"It represents the welcome embrace the Giffnock community has to offer from the old to the young, from all faiths and cultures, and the unseen work that many volunteers and voluntary groups provide through the community.

"We felt it was time Giffnock had something special at its heart."

Artist Jephson Robb said at the time: "I worked with pupils from St Ninian's and Woodfarm High Schools and they showed great interest in the project.

"The pupils understood the design as a reflection on Giffnock's origins and past as well as it being very much a sculpture for its future. They felt it would create a strong identity for the area."

However according to the Community Council minutes of January 2015 it would appear that they wish it to be removed.

Just what public consultation has gone on regarding this is unknown, it is also unknown if the original financial contributors have given approval or indeed the recently established Giffnock ‘Bid’.

What is very interesting it that the proposal is to re – site the sculpture in Clarkston, on the site of the new Health Centre.

The Giffnock CC minutes state “Health & Education – WK reported on the recent meeting held with CHCP (now the Health & Social Care Partnership)about the new Health Centre (construction started) Consideration will be given to the possible relocation of the GCC Sculpture in the Health Centre precincts.”

We have contacted GCC and provided them with an opportunity to comment, particularly as to how they would propose to finance the removal of such an item which required the commissioning of a special base due to its extreme weight, however they have refused to do so.

 
Has the politics of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea now reached East Renfrewshire. Print E-mail

Published 28th March 2015

Thornliebank Community Council has banned two of its own members from attending any future Joint Community Council Forum meetings.

Thornliebank Community Council (TCC) voted at their last meeting to ban the chair and secretary from attending the East Renfrewshire Joint Community Council Forum (ERJCCF) as representatives of TCC.

In a move straight out of non democratic North Korea they have went further and instructed that they should not attend as private individuals either.

The ERJCCF was established several years ago and in a press release issued by them they explain the issue.

Certain Community Councillors have attempted to prevent a Community Council Chair and Vice Chair from attending ERJCCF meetings.

We ask the question, what valid justification is there for this approach?

The ERJCCF operates on an informal basis, in line with ERC’s Guidance Manual for Community Councils and the Scotland Act 1973.

ERJCCF was set up as an informal forum in line with Scottish Government guidance primarily for Community Council Chairpersons and Secretaries. There is therefore no requirement for a constitution or elected office bearers. We do not have a Chairperson. Should one be required to steer a meeting such as when ERC’s Chief Executive or an MSP attends as an invited guest, the Chair is rotated amongst the Community Council Chairs present.

Notes are often produced for information purposes to distribute, instead of formal minutes. Whilst all attending are Community Councillors, they are attending the ERJCCF purely as individuals.

Every individual in attendance has a personal and genuine interest in the wellbeing of their community where they reside and a desire to enhance their personal knowledge and understanding of various Community Council matters. The sharing of information, support and increased knowledge of all the issues and views from other areas within East Renfrewshire is of great value and develops a mutual understanding which is beneficial, to the Community Councillors and their residents in East Renfrewshire.

There have been a number of erroneous, negative comments, over the last year, in particular from the Leader of the Council Cllr. Fletcher, Cllr. Waters and the Chief Executive Lorraine McMillan regarding the ERJCCF. This apparent deliberate misinformation has led, amongst other things to ERC officials refusing to recognise, correspond or attend any meetings of the ERJCCF.

It has been brought to our attention that some attendees of the ERJCCF have been attacked unjustifiably by fellow Community Councillors for attending the ERJCCF. Some Community Councillor office bearers have been told by members of their own Community Councils that they are barred from attending future ERJCCF meetings, which ignores the fact that all attendees, attend on a personal, individual capacity. This is simply acting ultra vires. (Acting beyond their powers.)

We condemn this conduct by those uninformed Community Councillors who seek to restrict the personal freedom of their elected office bearers, who are acting in an individual capacity. We find this conduct abhorrent and it has no basis as it clearly contravenes the letter and the spirit of the Act.

NEWSLINE understands that Leader Fletcher was at the meeting when they decided to ban their Chair and Vice from attending and he was heard to say that the ERJCCF was not a recognised body.

Leader Jim Fletcher

He was also present when they instructed that these two office bearers were not permitted to attend as individuals in their own right.

This is not the first occasion that a CC has attempted to control the activities of their own with regards to the ERJCCF.

Unsurprisingly this occurred at Giffnock Community Council and once again Leader Fetcher was present.

In January 2014 Chairman D’Souza referred to a previous meeting where it had been decreed that no Ccllr from TCC was to attend at the JCCF.

The Ccllr concerned had challenged this, as to whether GCC was in fact permitted to make decisions affecting official external representation by GCC councillors. However Chairman D’Souza stated that it was regrettable and disappointing to learn from the minutes of the recent JCC meeting that Jeffrey had been in attendance.

The Ccclrs passed a vote of no confidence in the Cllr concerned and he has since resigned from his role.

Present and counting the votes for the CC was Leader Fletcher.

Is this another case of Leader Fletcher wishing to keep the populous divided in order to keep himself in power.

NEWSLINE would have to ask where does this CC get the power and authority to prevent these two residents of East Renfrewshire from attending a meeting if they so desire.

Will they have the community safety department at ERC issue them with tags and put in place curfews.

Will TCC Cllrs be tagged

We have asked Leader Fletcher for a comment, but he has failed to respond.

 
Is Chairman D'Souza breaching the rules yet again? Print E-mail

Published 27th March 2015

Controversial Chair of Giffnock Community Council Savio D’Souza would appear to be at the centre of yet another debate as to whether he is, once again ignoring statutory rules and operating under his own, without the local authority even commenting on his apparently unconstitutional and undemocratic activities.

Mr D’Souza as the chair of Giffnock Community Council is required to abide by the Constitution as set out by East Renfrewshire Council.

Chairman D'Souza

The constitution states that if a Community Councillor fails to attend three consecutive meetings, with or without submitting apologies they can be removed from post.

However under special circumstances a community councillor can be provided with a 'period' of absence.

In September 2013 there were elections in relation to Community Councils and a female resident stood for election and was appointed to Giffnock CC.

She attended a meeting in that month and is recorded as doing so in the minutes.

However she is not recorded in any subsequent minutes until January 2015 when it is announced that she wishes to return to the CC and Chairman D’Souza has accepted this.

It is our understanding that the constitution indicates that this person should have not been returned as a full Community Councillor, but proposed as a Co-opted member at the January meeting and then confirmed at the February meeting if successful in her application.

The importance of this is that the number of Co-opted members is not permitted to exceed the number of elected members, and the base line of elected members is an indication of whether a community council can be established or not.

Is Chairman D’Souza once again playing with numbers to keep his ship afloat and are East Renfrewshire Council yet again turning a blind eye to his activities.

Chairman D’Souza already has a registered member who has never attended any CC meetings for over three years.

NEWSLINE has offered ERC and Chairman D’Souza the opportunity to comment, neither has taken up the offer and declined to respond.

This is not the first time that Chairman D'Souza has been accused of breaching the rules and East Renfrewshire Council have just ignored these, yet they seem to what to take on any other Community Council in respect of their alleged misconduct.

 
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