City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Trams - Council fearful of more bad press opt for secrecy


By actionman - Posted on 09 March 2012

Tram works in Shandwick Place 2012

The refusal of Edinburgh City Council to reveal the cost of the pay-off for former trams head Richard Jeffery is just  the same as the banks giving substantial bonuses to reward failure. But even worse, this is public money and the public have a right to know how their money is spent.

Transport Initiatives Edinburgh (TIE) proved to be incompetent and was a failure, let's not beat about the bush, and Richard Jeffery was the chief executive. In most circumstances failure should be followed by the sack, but it seems that the Council desperately wanted to keep everything secret.  

This is probably because they had four Councillors, including Gordon Mackenzie who is Convenor of the Council's Transport, Infrastructure and Environment Committee, sitting on the Board of TIE, so they were extremely anxious to hide their role in the failed company and their part in TIE incompetence.

A  Labour MSP, Kezia Dugdale, is demanding to know what the pay-off was for Mr Jeffery - and rightly, so but the Council is invoking legal constraints to avoid releasing the information. Promises to release the information to a Public Inquiry are simply a means of delaying the disclosure of information, which will be politically damaging for the Liberal Democrats and SNP just prior to the Local Authority elections.

The hope is that people will forget and the anger will have abated given time, and as much time as possible. It is noteworthy that the SNP Government is also dragging its feet about initiating a Public Inquiry.

As Ms Dugdale has said, "people are fed up with the secrecy surrounding the trams". They are indeed! At every step of the way the Council have dragged their feet, avoided informing the public and have wantonly deceived the people of Edinburgh about this project. Everyone hoped that there might be a change with Sue Bruce as Chief Executive, but little has improved.

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I think that hits the nail on the head..the spectacle of lawyers telling Councillors to shut up every time they try and debate this project is a very sad commentary on what passes for democracy in our city these days....until the Councillors regain their grasp of their duty of care to the city and stop playing second fiddle to the lawyers things will continue to go from bad to worse.