Blunders in the chamber hint at a tired administration - John McLellan

After supporting a motion she meant to oppose, skewering her own low-emission zone plans by dumping the wrong amendment and now having to re-run a decision after ignoring conflicts of interest, it’s been a testing couple of months for city transport convener Lesley Macinnes.

By John McLellan
Thursday, 25th November 2021, 4:55 am
Edinburgh City Chambers. PIC: Neil Hanna
Edinburgh City Chambers. PIC: Neil Hanna

Only a hard heart would not have some sympathy with her having to wrestle with the complexities of Council procedures, with the administration throwing the kitchen sink at every committee in what looks like a pre-election rush.

For example, this coming Tuesday’s Policy and Sustainability Committee has 27 reports, many of which could easily take up half-a-day’s discussion on their own, not crammed into six hours.

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A cynic would be forgiven for thinking that packing so many items into one agenda again suggests that effective scrutiny is the last thing the administration wants, but the haste to gun through reports causes blunders like failing to follow proper procedure.

In the case of the vote to close Brunstane Road, approved by two councillors who should have stepped aside because they had declared an interest, the warning there could be a conflict was brushed aside with legal officers having to intervene and the decision taken again.

But rather than wait till the next committee, a special meeting is being arranged with all the staff time and cost that entails. Maybe the next meeting will also have a huge agenda and there won’t be time, but the signs of chaos in a tired administration are there for all to see.

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