Monday, June 04, 2012

£17K spent on lavish redecoration of ‘signed off’ Chief Executive’s office ‘to save environment’ at £262 Million-in-debt Scottish Borders Council

Chief Executive Tracey Logan of heavily in debt Scottish Borders Council had lavish office redecoration. ONLY FOUR DAYS after Tracey Logan, the current Chief Executive of Scottish Borders Council was signed off work on 14 February2012 from her £100K plus a year job for undisclosed health reasons, media reports have revealed SEVENTEEN THOUSAND POUNDS was spent by the massively-in-debt South of Scotland local authority Scottish Borders Council on a lavish redecoration on Ms Logan’s office, formerly used by deposed Chief Executive David Hume, who left the council last year after taking voluntary redundancy. Ms Logan’s absence from SBC was covered in a previous report HERE

Even while local taxpayers in the Scottish Borders faced the news their local authority has piled up debts of TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY TWO MILLION POUNDS, equivalent to £2,403 & rising for every person living in the Scottish Borders, council officials spared no expense in the lavish redecoration of the ‘too sick to work’ Chief Executive, who has apparently now returned to work.

A statement released from Scottish Borders Council in response to a Freedom of Information request confirmed Ms Logan’s absence, stating : “I can advise that Tracey Logan was signed off on 14/02/12 and is ongoing. I cannot provide you with the reason why she has been signed off as this is personal information. The Council therefore relies on the exemption under Section 38(1)(b) of FOISA. The person who is Acting Chief Executive is Glenn Rodger. The Acting Chief Executive would receive an acting allowance if the situation continues for more than four weeks and would receive this until the return of Tracey Logan, Chief Executive.”

The campaigner who made the FOI request pointed out Ms Logan’s absence from the top post at SBC began coincidentally only a matter of days before headlines broke in local Borders newspapers of a scandal surrounding the departure late last summer of Scottish Borders Council’s former Chief Executive, David Hume, a subject which has also been reported by Scottish Law Reporter HERE and more recently HERE.

An announcement made by the leader of Scottish Borders Council, David Parker, last August, claimed Mr Hume had “retired” from his post as Chief Executive, ironically just a few days after a scandal of huge credit card expenses claims made by Mr Hume was reported in national newspapers and featured by Scottish Law Reporter, HERE. However, documents obtained from Audit Scotland who looked at the Council’s finances told a different story of the departure of the SBC Chief Executive, referring to a “voluntary redundancy” application made by Mr Hume.

The member of the public has also revealed he has evidence there were protracted negotiations between lawyers acting for Mr Hume and Scottish Borders Council over the terms & amount of Mr Hume’s so far secret publicly funded payoff.

It has also emerged there may be more than one angle to the scandal of Mr Hume’s departure after it was revealed by insiders that Council officials have refused to answer questions put by a member of the public who asked “..If Scottish Borders Council are or have been made aware by either David Hume or Tracey Logan of any business or personal relationships or conflicts of interest between either party occurring prior to Tracey Logan's appointment as Chief Executive and during the time Mr Hume was Chief Executive..”

Scottish Borders Council recently featured in several articles reported by SLR, HERE. It was also revealed late last week the Council’s Chief Executive, Tracey Logan had been off sick for a number of months but has since been confirmed as returning to work after questions were asked of her absence in a Freedom of Information request, all reported by SLR HERE

Local newspaper the Southern Reporter :

£16,500 spent on chief exec’s office

Published on Saturday 18 February 2012 16:33

MORE than £16,500 has been spent on altering and redecorating Tracey Logan’s office. But it is claimed the work on behalf of Scottish Borders Council’s chief executive will, in fact, save money and help the environment.

A spokeswoman for SBC said: “Alterations to the layout of the chief executive’s office were essential in order to meet the needs of the chief executive, her staff and visitors. The new layout has provided a new waiting/informal meeting area and support team office. It also involved the installation of video conferencing equipment that will be used regularly by the chief executive and her staff as part of the council’s commitment to reduce travel costs and impact on the environment.”

She added: “The chief executive wanted to avoid costs as part of this work, and was very keen to ensure old furniture was reused as far as possible. The only new furniture required as part of this new layout was chairs. The chief executive kept her desk, carpet and the other furniture in the office. Both offices and waiting area had to be redecorated due to the electrical work involved. The total cost of all of the works including building works, electrical works, redecoration and furniture was £16,520.”

Earlier report on SBC debt :


While the Council fights to maintain the secrecy over Mr Hume’s departure and a rumoured significant financial payoff, Scotland’s Finance Secretary John Swinney heaped more pressure on SBC by revealing to Holyrood the true extent of Scottish Borders Council’s debt situation, now standing at a staggering TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY TWO MILLION POUNDS,

Figures revealed by Mr Swinney in a written answer to Tory MSP, Margaret Scanlon revealed the debt situation at Scottish Borders Council had nearly DOUBLED in the past five years of Conservative-LibDem control, from a figure of £166,489 million in 2007 to a whopping £262,551m as of last year.

Mr Swinney also revealed Scottish Borders Council are forking out over TWELVE MILLION POUNDS A YEAR for interest on debts such as assets acquired under Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) or similar arrangements, a figure which has leapt from £9,090 million in 2007 to £12,273 million as of 2011.

Local campaigners in the Scottish Borders have criticised the scale of the problems at Scottish Borders Council and the apparent lack of any leadership or desire by the former Tory-Libdem coalition to stop the ever rising mountain of debt at Scottish Borders Council, which now equates to a sum of £2,403 & rising for every person living in the Scottish Borders as of this date.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You couldn't make this up - so much for the age of austerity and 'we're all in this together'.