Spending concerns, Remembrance Sunday and AC/DC – it’s the Herald letters for October 27, 2012

Cllr Rhondda Geekie at the new Marina HQ
Cllr Rhondda Geekie at the new Marina HQ

READERS have their say on the issues which matter...

Not surprised at spending

I MUST say I was not overly surprised at the headlines in your paper last week regarding the increased spend for the council’s new HQ.

Every week for several weeks there have been examples of the council spending on themselves.

The response from Rhondda Geekie has always been the same – they have to spend to save and she tells us the vast amount of money we will save over the next few years.

In other words they have to “speculate to accumulate”!

Given all the cuts that have been and will be introduced, which we have been told are mandatory to remain within budget, I just wonder what budget has been used to fund the spending on the council HQ so that we can eventually make all these savings.

Where does this money come from for the initial outlay?

I am sure there are lots of families who would love to increase their weekly food bill by 50 per cent when they see things in the supermarket or buy themselves new clothes, but they are restricted to their budget and there is no-one to fund the increased spend.

Does Rhondda Geekie have a secret credit card which is used?

Name and address supplied

Please give us credit

HOW much more senseless profligacy do we have to endure from East Dunbartonshire Council?

In addition to the £250,000 overspend for the new HQ, £244,000 is to be wasted on ‘promotion’ and ‘awareness-raising’ of the new bin scheme.

We do not require roadshows or presentations, one A4 sheet and a calendar would suffice.

Please credit us with the intelligence to understand a few simple instructions.

Isobel Hunter,

Victoria Road,

Lenzie.

Concern on rising costs

IT came as no surprise to me to read the headlines in last week’s Herald that the costs of moving the council headquarters have far exceeded the original estimate, and are still rising.

It is alleged that some council workers involved with the move are earning as much in overtime as their normal weekly wage.

No wonder the council are refusing to publish detailed costs, they know that the ratepayers would yet again be horrified at the amount of public money being spent on something which brings no benefit at all to the local community.

Could the promise of millions to be spent on capital projects be yet another attempt to placate us? Just as the promise of money for the town hall project, when there was so much opposition to the new hub.

When will this council, who in my opinion are not fit for purpose, realise we are not so easily fooled?

May I remind them our memories are long enough to take all this into account when the next local elections are held.

S. Anderson,

(via e-mail).

Where is the bicycle park?

IN his book ‘Parkinson’s Law’, C Northcote Parkinson described a committee that met to discuss the construction of a new atomic power plant. The agenda included three items: approving the plans for the plant, discussing a new bicycle shed for employees and the refreshment expenses of the Welfare Committee.

The committee spent two-and-a-half minutes discussing the highly-complex power plant, because no-one really understood the details, 45 lively minutes debating the bicycle shed, because everyone did, and over an hour furiously debating the refreshments.

In last week’s Herald, there is a report that nearly £90million is to be spent by the council on a detailed list of improvements that benefit residents, with no recorded objections, and a separate – much more prominent –

report that the council office move has gone a quarter of a million over budget, with outraged reaction from the SNP group leader, and a

suggestion from a reader

that old furniture should have been re-used to save money.

Anyone see a resemblance?

And does anyone know where the councillors’ bicycle park is at the new offices?

Rod Ackland,

Glenwood Road,

Lenzie.

Overspend must be addressed

I, LIKE many other local residents, I am sure, read with dismay and concern your page one headline last week, ‘COUNCIL HQ BILL SOARS TO £750,000’.

The matter raises questions concerning the ability of the current administration to steward our affairs in an acceptable fashion. A £500,000 budget figure apparently becomes a £750,000 figure or maybe more.

I have read the reasons advanced on behalf of the council in your report and I, for one, remain unconvinced. I hope that the detailed report on the overspend will address the following matters:

1. Why were the detailed requirements not fully established at the beginning of the project? After all, this was not a compulsory move at short notice.

2. Why decide belatedly to relocate the print room with all the consequential extra expense?

3. Did it come as news to the council that energy saving lighting existed?

4. If the benefits so far ‘outweigh’ the costs of the overspend, why were these benefits not foreseen at the onset of the project?

5. Why was the furniture from Tom Johnston House not transported to the marina to make an obvious cost saving in these straitened times for many people?

6. What estimates have been made of the long term savings to be made from the overspend and when were these estimates made?

7. Was the additional spending incurred by officials without council approval? If council approval was given, who gave it?

8. Were all other council procedures complied with in incurring this over budget expenditure?

9. From what council department is the overspend to be met? What other departmental funds are to be cut as a consequence?

This controversy has arisen as a result of the council’s decision to move to the marina from Tom Johnston House. Since the council are in the course of preparing a report on that move, it would be enlightening if the council were to include in it a statement on the exact current position with regard to the disposal of Tom Johnston House from which they chose voluntarily to move.

Ian W Thomson,

Kirkintilloch Road, Lenzie.

At the going down of the sun

REMEMBRANCE Sunday is approaching when the grateful people of Kirkintilloch parade and march to the Peel Park War Memorial to remember with pride and reverence the fallen of two world wars and the forgotten wars and armed conflicts since 1945.

To name a few, Korea, Malay, Cyprus and some more recent wars and conflicts i.e. Northern Ireland, the Falklands, Iraq and the ongoing Afghanistan.

As we who care enough to remember the fallen on the 11th day at the 11th hour would it be too much to ask the council parks department to open the gates of the War Memorial at the Peel Park so the parade can march through without having to halt and lower the Union Flag and Standards then file through the side gate?

Those names carved on “tablets of stone” didn’t file out the side gate to go and serve King, Queen and country.

No, those brave men and women marched out the main gate with pride and courage, many never to return home to their loved ones.

Yes, freedom has its price! So “stand to” the parks department and get the gates opened wide, because we who care enough will remember them!

John Semple,

a veteran,

Harestanes.

Grateful OAP says thanks

I AM 76 years old and have great difficulty walking.

On Friday, June 29, a very wet afternoon, I parked outside M & Co.

When I came out I had a parking ticket, timed at 5.35pm.

I then went to Sainsbury’s and was moaning at the checkout about my parking ticket.

The lady in front of me pressed what I thought was a sweetie into my hand - it was the £30 to cover the cost of my fine.

I would just like to say a very big thank you for her great kindness.

M F Ritchie.

Fan’s tribute to AC/DC legend Bon Scott

I READ with interest Herald Assistant Editor Alan Muir’s article “Tribute to AC/DC legend Bon Scott” on page 7 of Herald edition of October 3.

It is good to read Moodiesburn sculptor John McKenna has been asked to design a tribute to Ronald Belford Scott, better known as Bon Scott, the original singer with one of the world’s finest high voltage rock bands that have shipped over 200 million albums worldwide to date.

Mr Muir’s article stands as the first occasion AC/DC have made the Herald news in over 30 years when then reporter Billy Hannah reviewed a huge concert he attended at Wembley Stadium, London on August 18, 1979.

Besides AC/DC, The Who, The Stranglers and Nils Lofgren performed in front of a 100,000 crowd that day.

I saw AC/DC live for the first time on Sunday, October 28 that year at the legendary Glasgow Apollo as part of their “Highway to Hell” tour.

When it comes to entertainment value few are in the same bracket.

It was to be Bon Scott’s last concert tour with AC/DC. Just months later as the band were becoming an internationally acclaimed name Bon met with his untimely demise in tragic circumstances on February 19, 1980.

It speaks volumes for the singer as well as current and past band members that the AC/DC exhibition on display at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum between September 17 last year and February 12 this year saw over 40,000 people flock to pay homage to AC/DC’s remarkable history.

A place to view Bon Scott’s life and times was respectfully set aside at the well organised exhibition.

Kenneth K Keir,

Lennoxtown.

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