Sue Bruce has a decision to make today. Disquiet over her second job as a non-executive director with SSE has been building ever since the appointment was announced last month.
Indeed it has grown to such a degree that she took the highly unusual step of writing to every city councillor last week defending her new role.
The work would be carried out in her own time, she insisted in one of several bullet points. The salary (minus the cost of buying in to the company) would be donated to city charities . . . it would be a mutually beneficial role for both organisations. If she thought that would put the matter to bed, however, she was wrong.
If anything it has only recharged the debate.
Today we report on the justifiable questions which are being asked over how Ms Bruce’s SSE job squares with the fact the company is set to have its contract as the preferred supplier for the Capital’s council housing reviewed.
Clearly, we cannot and are not suggesting impropriety on either the part of Ms Bruce or SSE. Ms Bruce is a trusted, skilled, and professional chief executive who has been good for the city. The decision on the contract, as the council says today, can be made without her input or influence.
The problem, and one which has led to her position with SSE being described as untenable, is how it appears and is interpreted by the ordinary taxpayer.
It is the sort of conflict of interest which is always going to become an issue for a public official with a role on a private firm.
Put bluntly, it is the reason why the chief executive of Scotland’s capital city should not have a second job.
So Sue Bruce does have a decision to make today.
Continue facing questions over her outside interest, or concentrate on the job she has been doing well – running our great city. We hope she’ll choose the latter.