FakeD e-mails, city officials behaving like they are living in a Cold War spy fantasy, vanishing documents and to top it all £150,000 of public money wasted.
The behaviour of council managers in the saga of the Cameron House Community Centre is astonishing.
The chain of mismanagement and dirty tricks reads like a script for an Inspector Clouseau film. It would all be hilarious if the consequences were not so serious.
In any other walk of life, someone found to have doctored e-mails to cover their mistakes would expect to be sacked, so the outcome of the council’s investigation will be awaited with great interest. If heads don’t roll, then questions will be asked why.
The most worrying allegation of all, however, is not the snooping and subterfuge, serious though they are. It is the suggestion that blameless staff at the community centre were victimised by management due to an indirect connection with a whistleblowing investigation. If there is any truth in this, then the council must act decisively to show that this is simply unacceptable.
The vast majority of people working at the city council are good and honest people. We all know people working for the council, whether they are friends, neighbours or professionals who have helped us out, who fit that description. The statutory notice scandal has, however, raised doubts in the public mind about the integrity of employees within the council. The last thing that the city needs is any further evidence of untrustworthy behaviour.
The truth is that this is not really a farce at all, it is much closer to being a tragedy. The people who have suffered are the Prestonfield residents who have had to put up with a community centre that is not fit for purpose for the past six years, and the staff who carry out sterling work there. They deserve answers over what has gone wrong here.