Council officers are there to serve
Sir, I wish the new members of the Highland Council well in their endeavours and note yet-again leader Margaret Davidson’s platitudes reported in your newspaper.
If I may borrow the phrase ‘Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn’ when it comes to any love-ins between the so- called Independents and other partisan politicians.
What I and, I am sure, many others want is the members to take control of the council ensuring the officers running the show are reminded they are public servants and appropriately scrutinised.
I am sure many will agree with me when I say I fear another five years of dictatorship by bureaucracy from the ‘ we know best’ officers. I have always been led to believe it is the job of these public servants and the elected members to handle the actual and perceived needs of the communities as well as ensuring the services are provided as best as possible. Unfortunately, increasingly it seems this is not the case.
We all fully understand the economic problems but I bet my bottom dollar each and every community can point to obvious wastes of resources in the system. Ask us and we will point them out.
Where we can help alleviate problems, again, ask and I am sure many will if they can help. It should be a partnership – not a them-and-us situation.
That will involve something new for many that has been seriously lacking in the past from their management systems and abilities. They need to consult, listen and assimilate the information from communities large and small and take full cognisance of same in decision-making. Their function, as far as I am concerned, is to support, facilitate and encourage communities in developing and increasing their resilience. If something cannot be achieved, it is their job to explain why and help the community to explore alternatives – not to dictate to them.
I have worked for many decades with the front-line in our local authorities and other public services in my many functions in the community and have great respect for them.
I have found them more than willing to help but increasingly they tell me their ability to operate using their own discretion or initiative is now severely hampered.
I would point out to those donkeys leading the lions that their best assets are their people. They are well trained, trustworthy and a credit to the organisation so listen to them, let them use their discretion or initiative and do what they do best: serve the public. Jimmy Waugh, 18 West Laroch, Ballachulish.