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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.

 
COUNCIL ban joint community council representatives from meeting free on council premises. Print E-mail

Newsline has learnt that ERC have instructed that the ER Joint Community Council Forum which has been attended by representatives from seven of the ten East Renfrewshire Community Councils for over two years are now banned from holding their meeting in council premises, without paying a charge.

Up until now these community representatives were entitled under the Community Council legislation to free lets of council halls, now in an unprecedented move Jim Sneddon, Head of Democratic Services has decreed that this will cease forthwith.

jim_1_2014-05-22.jpg


Jim Sneddon
Head of Democratic Services


In addition he did not inform the community councils concerned and they only found out when they attempted to book a venue for a forthcoming meeting and were informed that they were no longer eligible, with no reason provided for the change of heart by East Renfrewshire Council.

We have contacted ERC and provided them with an opportunity to comment.

 
Thornliebank gets a spring clean Print E-mail

A large group of litter pickers who are supporting the 2014 Clean Up Scotland campaign have cleaned up Orchard Park Avenue.

The 94th Glasgow Scout group (based at Thornliebank), staff at McDonalds Thornliebank and Eastwood MSP Ken Macintosh hit the streets for a clean-up, as part of the Keep Scotland Beautiful initiative.

The 33 volunteers identified Orchard Park Avenue as a litter hot spot.

The group donned their high-vis jackets and litter pickers — provided by East Renfrewshire council — and collected 12 bags of rubbish weighing over 52kg.

 
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