Letters to the Editor

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Midlothian Council

Time to get on with job

Having read the comments by Cllr Milligan (Call for dialogue after seminar snub) and Katie Moffat (Letters – Labour is Listening) I feel I must respond to some of the points raised.

From time to time complex issues come up which require more detailed consideration by the council and it is entirely appropriate that the members take the additional time to ensure they are as fully informed as possible prior to making decisions. It is interesting that Cllr Milligan suggests “voters don’t want Councillors swanning around seminars” especially when Cllr Milligan has requested more seminars of the council than any other member. As I say, this is an entirely appropriate forum for discussion, but you can’t have it both ways Cllr Milligan.

In points being raised by Katie Moffat, it is interesting that it is the “police board” which comes under fire. This important committee of the council, now the Safer Communities Board, is actually one of a number of appointed positions the Labour Group in Midlothian have refused to participate on.

Given no Labour member has ever attended a meeting of the Board I am interested to know how they have assessed it as being useless? The Safer Communities Board in Midlothian is a forum where elected members, and representatives from other community planning partners have the opportunity to scrutinise and question plans of the police and the Fire and Rescue Service, along with wider community safety issues. The Safer Communities Board is also the forum which scrutinises the Police Plan for Midlothian, and the Fire and Rescue Service Plan for Midlothian. Not exactly “useless” in my book Katie. Perhaps if the Labour group actually participated in this Board, as they have two spaces allocated, they would begin to see the benefits.

Colleagues in the council know I am always willing to listen, and I frequently ask the Labour Group to reconsider their position of non-participation. In writing through these pages, I again stress the importance of a variety of views in decision making. I value the differing opinions of the members of Midlothian Council and through engagement and debate, while we may not always agree, participation must surely lead to better decision making.

As we come up to two years on from the council elections of 2012, it must now be time for the Labour Group to come off pause, to engage in the council by participating and to do the job they were elected to do.

Cllr Owen Thompson

Midlothian West Ward

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