You couldn’t make it up! Scottish Borders Council chief executive David Hume informs us he is rationing the application of salt on icy roads, presumably because there is no money to buy emergency supplies from the Scottish Government, but spends £12,000 on a special edition of the council newsletter to tell us how wonderful the local authority is.
Council leader David Parker gives us an idea of his efficiency and performance expectations when he sees nothing wrong in taking 26 months to produce a Common Good report or three months to write a letter to the Scottish Government. It’s a “staffing issue”.
We learn from TheSouthern’s letters page that despite reorganisation to improve efficiency, the planning department, or whatever it is now called, is taking years rather than months to process applications.
Surprisingly, none of the 168 extra staff recruited during the last financial year, a year of supposed cutbacks, seem able to help in either situation.
Technical services spend £52,559 on mobile phone calls, but have no idea of how many mobile phones they own, and presumably no idea of what percentage of the £52,559 was spent on council business.
We also learn from the letters page that councillors are not entitled to free lunches while conducting business on local authority premises. Meanwhile the free-lunch councillors seem totally unable to comprehend that the majority of the electorate now see them as grasping, self-serving parasites.
All this from an organisation that controls a budget of hundreds of millions of pounds and has an impact on our daily lives.
If only the commitment, dedication and initiative showed by front-line staff, whose jobs are at risk and who battled through the winter weather to do their jobs, could be reflected through the upper echelons of the council.