The SNP Group within Falkirk Council has reacted to the comments of Cllr Gerry Goldie published in the Falkirk Herald on the subject of the possible closure of the Hallglen Sports Centre. Group Leader, Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn, has called on Labour leader, Craig Martin to conduct a full enquiry into the comments of Cllr Goldie and questioned the motivation of Mr Goldie.
The Labour Councillor went public advising staff at the cenre that they were about to lose their jobs the day before they were to be briefed by management.
In the press article Goldie seemed to make the case for closure despite being one of four local Councillors for the Hallglen area. In an attack on the local community the Labour member blamed the Hallglen public for not suporting the centre.
However, Falkirk South Councillor, Colin Chalmers pointed out that in a report to Falkirk Council within the last two weeks showed that bookings for the centre were up 12% this year. Cllr Chalmers went on to say,
“Councillor Goldie either made his comments to the press without bothering to check the facts or he has deliberately set out to mislead the people of Hallglen and those from the wider community who travel to the centre.”
“The people of Hallglen deserve better.”
SNP Group Leader, Cecil Meiklejohn, has questioned the integrity of the Labour led Budget Working Group set up in the light of the critical Audit Scotland Report.
The SNP accepted 3 places on the working group on the understanding that nothing would be agreed until all options investigated and facts placed on the table. However, the comments of Cllr Goldie appears to indicate that not only are decisions to cut and close are being taken behind closed doors but also being taken before opposition groups have even been informed.
An angry Cllr Meiklejohn said,
“Gerry Goldie’s comments to both the staff and to the Falkirk Herald were crass and insensitive.”
“I am calling on a full investigation as to why Administration Councillors are informing staff of possible job losses before management have had the opportunity to brief staff or any open and accountable decision taken regarding any service cut.”
“The terms of the working group set up to look at budget options were clearly established with no decision making powers devolved to it yet it appears as though a decision has already been taken to close this centre.”
The leader of the council, Craig Martin, has some explaining to do and we need to know what cuts have already been agreed by the council’s ruling Labour / Conservative Coalition Administration and if opposition members are wasting our time participating in what looks like a token exercise.”