Editorial: The Old Rock 21.05.10

Congratulations to Gary Robinson, who has not only been cleared of wrongdoing by the Standards Commission but told that he upheld his duty as a councillor when he asked questions about money paid to creditors of the knitwear firm Judane through an account held by councillor Caroline Miller. Mrs Miller and her husband Frank Miller with fellow Judane director Judith Miller made separate complaints to the commission late last year after Mr Robinson reacted to revelations made by The Shetland Times about the £21,500 in payments. Mrs Miller subsequently disclosed that her course of action had been approved by the council’s economic development unit.

As the Old Rock has suggested previously, the whole furore could have been avoided if Mrs Miller had responded promptly to the questions. We should not single out Mrs Miller, however.

Many major questions of public interest remain to be answered by this council. What is the exact nature of the council’s deal with the oil firm Total over its new plant at Sullom Voe and how much money will the council accrue as a result of it?

How much money, in cash payout, salary, legal fees and tax, will the deal with former chief executive David Clark cost the council taxpayer? So far it is £306,000 and – presumably – counting. What is the status of the complaints made by six councillors late last year about Mr Clark’s behaviour which independent lawyers reckon gave strong grounds for dismissal? Why did convener Sandy Cluness not ensure that the final deal with Mr Clark was presented to councillors before being signed off as promised?

And, for that matter, what are the terms of the agreement reached between the Judane directors and the council over the waiving of the £400,000+ it owed?

It may be tiresome, but we’ll keep asking. Maybe some day we’ll get answers.


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