Coun­cil of­fi­cers are there to serve

The Oban Times - - Letters -

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.

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