21 Feb 2017: Malpractice’ claim at Glasgow City Council
Police have met senior figures at Glasgow City Council amid allegations of malpractice, it has emerged. It follows claims of cronyism within the land and environmental services department. A long-running internal investigation has been looking at a number of issues, including alleged procurement irregularities. The department’s executive director resigned last November.
Police Scotland said their inquiries were at an early stage but it is understood officers have taken an interest in issues that arose through Glasgow City Council’s internal investigation and that the local authority would be willing to co-operate with police. It is also confirmed that a meeting took place recently between the council and police and that some of the issues spoken about involved people outside the council.
The land and services department looks after services such as cleansing, bin collection, park, roads to environmental health and trading standards. The department has about 4,000 employees and a revenue budget of £190m. In November 2016 its executive director Brian Devlin – whose salary was about £120,000 – resigned after five years in the role.
It is understood that Mr Devlin was spoken to during the internal investigation. The others interviewed by the internal investigators included two members of staff with close personal links to housing repair company Mears Scotland, which had also been at the centre of a local controversy over council contracts in neighbouring North Lanarkshire.
One is the son of its managing director who is married to Glasgow’s Lord Provost Sadie Docherty. The other is the partner of an executive with Mears who is now working in a different role at the council. Mears currently has no major contracts with Glasgow City Council and the company has denied wrongdoing.
A spokesman for Labour-run Glasgow City Council said it would not be appropriate to comment on an ongoing internal investigation but the broader issue of openness and transparency within Glasgow City Council is set to be a key theme in the campaign ahead of May’s local elections.
Supporters of the Labour administration may argue that the internal investigation demonstrates that they take such matters seriously. But, the SNP believe that, in general, the council could do more to ensure it is transparent and seen to be so.
The leader of the SNP group on the council, Susan Aitken, stressed she did not wish to comment on this specific investigation or any of the individuals concerned. She said: “Glasgow SNP have already expressed serious concerns about public trust in the council in the light of a number of incidents over the years and have committed to appoint an independent expert to conduct a root and branch review of governance if elected.”
Councils are expected to follow tight procurement rules and statutory procedures to ensure an open and transparent process is followed for any contract being awarded – major contracts also have to comply with EU law.
They should never be awarded on the basis of personal connections and no company tendering for a contract should be given an unfair advantage or disadvantage. It would be seen as bad practice – and possibly a breach of rules – for anyone with a close personal connection to a company to be involved with decisions on whether or not they are awarded a contract. Any allegation a council employee was able to give one company bidding for work an unfair advantage, through for instance sharing information, would also be taken very seriously.
Recommendations on who to award significant contracts to are made by council officials, although the actual decisions are taken by committees of councillors. It is unusual for these committees to go against the officials’ recommendations. Police Scotland said: “A matter has been raised with the police and inquiries are at an early stage to assess this information.” (BBC Scotland news)
16 Jan 2016: Glasgow Labour split over ‘missed opportunity’ to appoint a woman as City Treasurer
A split has opened up in Glasgow City Council’s ruling Labour group over the elevation of Philip Bratt to City Treasurer.
Concerns were raised at a recent meeting of Labour councillors that the leadership was failing to honour a commitment to gender equality. The Labour group recently passed a motion in support of the Women 50/50 campaign which calls for legislative quotas for women on public boards, in the Scottish Parliament and in local councils. The drive for equality was launched in September 2014 by Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale and has since been backed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as well as dozens of MSPs and councillors.
Glasgow City Council leader Frank McAveety has increased the number of female Labour councillors on the executive committee from one to three, with the Labour group also contributing seven men. But it has been claimed that recommending Philip Bratt to replace Paul Rooney as City Treasurer was a “missed opportunity” to increase women’s representation at the top of the local authority. It is understood several councillors criticised the leadership when the Labour group was told at a private meeting last Monday that Mr McAveety would put forward Mr Bratt.
One Labour councillor, who asked not to be named, said: “It flared up because of the appointment of Philip Braat. Some of the group members argued it should be a woman because of the motion. During the discussion Frank (McAveety) asked Archie (Graham, Labour’s equalities spokesman and deputy leader of the group) to try defend the line on woman not needing to be appointed.”
Councillor Judith Fisher, who spoke out at the meeting, said: “It’s a matter of public record that the Labour group unanimously agreed to support the Women 50/50 campaign and the realisation of gender balance of Labour appointments at all levels of the council. The progress of moving from one woman executive member to three should be appreciated. However, I will continue to press for full gender balance to become a reality. A council that reflects the city it represents leads to better decision making.” (The Evening Times)
7 Feb 2016: Glasgow Council leader Frank McAveety makes threat of legal action after complaint about leadership
Glasgow council leader Frank McAveety has taken legal advice after a complaint about his administration was sent to Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale.
An individual claiming to be a party councillor made a number of claims about his leadership and said morale in the city chambers was at “an all-time low”. However, a spokesperson for McAveety described the claims are “completely untrue” and raised the prospect of legal action.
McAveety became council leader for the second time after succeeding Gordon Matheson in the post. However, his spell in charge has been marked by tensions in his group and damaging leaks.
The Sunday Herald revealed McAveety’s allies had been critical of council chief executive Anne-marie O’Donnell over a perceived lack of detail on budget cuts and McAveety, a Labour MSP between 1999 and 2011, declined to offer his full support for her when asked.
The new leader also faced questions from his colleagues over the appointment of councillor Phil Bratt as city treasurer. Bratt is perceived to be one of a number of McAveety allies handed key posts and some councillors believe the leadership has failed to give enough top jobs to women.
It can now be revealed that an anonymous letter, written on local authority headed notepaper and signed by a “concerned Labour councillor”, was sent to Dugdale directly at Holyrood. The author provided unflattering commentary of McAveety’s leadership and made a number of claims about the mood inside the council. The individual wrote: “Morale is at an all-time low amongst elected members and council officers.” A party source said the letter was received and passed to Labour headquarters in Glasgow’s Bath Street. (The Glasgow Herald)
17 Feb 2016: Glasgow City Council in open warfare as under-fire Labour boss McAveety removes spin chief
Frank McAveety’s leadership of Glasgow council has suffered another blow after one of his top officials was signed off sick. Brian Devlin will be recuperating away from the city chambers amid claims morale amongst senior officers is low.
McAveety replaced Gordon Matheson as local authority leader last year, but his Labour administration has lurched from one controversy to another. The former MSP’s internal party critics believe he lacks vision and has appointed male loyalists to key posts. However, there has also been tension with the council’s top officials, who are key to pushing through the leader’s policies.
As revealed by the Sunday Herald, McAveety’s political allies criticised the council chief executive Anne-marie O’Donnell at a Labour group meeting in December over a perceived lack of detail on budget cuts. McAveety refused to give the official full backing.
The leader then removed Colin Edgar from his post as head of communication and service development after a breakdown in their working relationship. McAveety reportedly had a “long-standing distrust” of Edgar, a respected PR professional who has been given a similar job at the council-owned Glasgow Life.
It has now emerged that Devlin, the executive director of Land and Environmental Services, was signed off sick last week. Devlin is in charge of a huge council department including cleansing, parks, roads, environment and sustainability and other related services. The remit spans the management and maintenance of the road transport network and the array of parks and open spaces under the local authority’s control.
A spokesman for the council refused to say whether Devlin had signed off with stress, or whether he had complained about any Labour councillor. He said: “We have a duty of care to all of our employees. Mr Devlin is absent from work on sick leave and we cannot comment further on personal matters.” A council source said relations between the McAveety camp and top officials was “very poor”.
A spokesperson for the SNP Group on the city council said. “There is chaos at the heart of Glasgow Labour and until they are removed the city will be continue to be plagued by poor leadership and score settling. The people of Glasgow are the losers here.” (The Glasgow Herald)
Cash-strapped Glasgow City Council could be about to bolster its public relations operation by handing a lucrative contract to an ex-BBC journalist. Former political correspondent John Morrison is among the consultants contending for the chance to provide “independent analysis” of the local authority’s digital presence.
Last year council leader Frank McAveety handed a well paid senior special adviser job to another ex-BBC reporter, Bob Wylie, who was previously in charge of public relations at Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) during an expenses scandal.
It emerged in 2010 that officials had clawed back more than £100,000 and gone on foreign fact-finding trips. Mr Wylie later handed back expenses racked up during a junket to Manchester on the day Rangers played in the 2008 UEFA Cup final.
Sources claim the council’s public relations programme has been “floundering” recently and Mr McAveety is thought to be keen to “shore up” the operation. A council spokesman confirmed that the local authority is “conducting a review of council communications, with special reference to developing digital communications”.
Mr Morrison, who runs a Glasgow-based public relations company, said: “They’ve spoken to me but there is nothing agreed.” He later issued a statement which said: “Morrison Media Strategies is a communications and media training company. We have discussions with companies and organisations every day. We don’t talk about them.” ( The Barrhead news)
Scotland’s largest council has faced a day of trauma following the suspension of one of its senior officers and a political resignation which leaves the ruling Labour administration’s majority teetering on the brink.
Glasgow City Council announced it had suspended its £120,000-a-year-plus head of land and environmental services Brian Devlin pending an internal investigation, understood to focus on the award of contracts. Mr Devlin had recently returned to work following a period of ill health amid claims of low morale and deep divisions between senior members of the administration and top officers. It is understood Mr Devlin’s lap top has been retained by the council as part of the probe.
The announcement followed the unrelated resignation of former chief whip and chair of the Labour group, Aileen Colleran, who will continue as an independent until next year’s local elections.
Ms Colleran, who is married to SNP MP Chris Stephens, cited disillusion with the party nationally and personal circumstances, including claims she has been treated with “suspicion and mistrust”. Her resignation, combined with a number of suspensions and by-election defeats, has brought the Labour administration within a seat or so of losing its overall majority on the council.
A coup or vote of no-confidence in council leader Frank McAveety is unlikely, whoever it is certain to add a burden to what is expected to be a tumultuous year for the authority in the run up to next year’s council poll. (The Glasgow Herald)
The assistant to a key Glasgow City Council official has been suspended amid ongoing internal investigations into procurement irregularities. Joan Parr was sent home on the same day as her superior, the £120,000-a-year director of land and environmental services, Brian Devlin, last month.
Sources said internal auditors have seized computers from the pair as they look in to a series of concerns insiders say include the “award of contracts”.
Ms Parr is the partner of Steve Kelly, an executive with housing repair giant Mears Scotland, whose friendship with the leader of North Lanarkshire Council, Jim McCabe, helped sparked a civil war in Labour last year.
Her suspension comes as councils across west central Scotland apply intense scrutiny to public procurement contracts after North Lanarkshire Council announced an investigation into sweeping allegations of corruption.
A council spokesman said: “A member of staff has been suspended on a precautionary basis, pending an internal investigation. It would be inappropriate to comment further while that is ongoing.”
Mr Devlin picked Ms Parr, an existing council employee, to work as his assistant when he was hired by Glasgow to head his department, which deals with everything from roads maintenance to rat catching, in 2011.
He was suspended shortly after returning to work following a period of ill health amid grumbling about low morale in his department and talk of divisions between officials and the new council leadership of Frank McAveety.
A source said Mr Devlin was under scrutiny “both on performance and integrity”. The executive, who is originally from North Lanarkshire but lives in Kirkintilloch, East Dunbartonshire, came to the council from engineering firm Amey after a career in local government.
At the time of his appointment, he said: “I’ve been responsible for very similar services in previous jobs, but I’m well aware that what sets Glasgow apart is not only the scale of the operation, but also the expectation that we will be bold and take a lead in meeting the many challenges public services face, while delivering better for communities.”
He hit the headlines shortly after taking up his post when it emerged he had helped to hire the now late former Labour cabinet minister Tom McCabe – no relation to Jim McCabe – as a £50,000-a-year policy adviser.
His department then hit the headlines again in 2013 when it emerged it had failed to renew planning permission for its only landfill, Cathkin Braes, which lies just outside Glasgow’s boundaries in South Lanarkshire. (The Glasgow Herald)
A Major exodus from Glasgow’s ruling Labour administration is set to deepen rifts within the authority, with almost half the party’s female councillors expected to quit politics.
It is understood that six female politicians, including Lord Provost Sadie Docherty, have signalled they will not to seek re-election amid claims of a “macho culture” within the council.
Mrs Docherty is the only one of those standing down next year to have served more than one term of office, the others having only entered front-line politics in 2012. ( The Herald Scotland)
All about Frank McAveety from 1997 to 2015 -Enough to make your hair curl
Frank McAveety – The Silver Fox- His Rise, fall and Resurrection
A young New Labour supporter came to prominence in Glasgow City Council in the late 1990’s. His promise to the electorate was to eliminate corruption and modernise the Administration which had been in power for many a year. With the backing of Tony Blair and Gordon Dewar Frank proceeded to exercise a night of the long knives getting rid of the Lord Provost Pat Lally and his supporters.
The saga caused immense damage within the Labour party in Glasgow and lasted for around 2 years. Frank and his supporters emerged victorious and full of confidence in his ability he undertook his new job with great gusto to the chagrin of many Glaswegians.
13 Oct 1997: Frank McAveety Elected as New Glasgow City Leader
Frank McAveety, convener of the art and culture committee was elected as the new Labour leader of Glasgow City Council. He replaced Bob Gould, who was forced to step down last month after being suspended by the party’s ruling body after allegations of taking trips in exchange for votes. https://caltonjock.com/2015/01/02/glasgow-city-council-the-west-of-scotland-corruption-the-never-ending-story/
6 Feb 1998: Put labour Party before Lally says McAveeny
Glasgow council chief Frank McAveety last night pleaded “Put loyalty to Labour before loyalty to Lally.” McAveety said his council comrades must ditch veteran Lord Provost Pat Lally to let Glasgow flourish again. And the 36-year-old council leader used the language of a Mafia don when he said: “When there’s a disagreement in the family it’s always painful. But the head of the family has to make the right decision. And that’s what I’m going to do.”
McAveety is now locked in a power tussle with Lally, who at 73 is 37 years his senior. Labour’s highest disciplinary court handed Lally an 18-month suspension from party office last week after a sleaze busting probe. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-61464316.html
6 Feb 1998: Dewar thought to be orchestrating Labour moves to oust Glasgow leader; Lord Provost Lally is hanging by a thread
The future of Patrick Lally as Lord Provost of Glasgow appeared to be in even greater jeopardy last night after strong indications that Labour Party moves to oust him are being driven by Scottish Secretary Donald Dewar. Sources in London disclosed yesterday that Mr Dewar has been detailed to oversee the civic crisis in Glasgow and support a modernising strategy aimed at restoring the city’s tarnished image.
The disclosure emerged as the new council leadership team of Councillors Frank McAveety and Charles Gordon were today expecting a letter from the Scottish Labour Party. The letter will detail the conclusions of a National Constitutional Committee inquiry last weekend, which applied an 18-month ban on the Lord Provost attending Labour Group meetings along with an 18-month ban on holding Labour Party office. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-23675303.html
17 Feb 1998: McAveety to take first steps to unseat Lally
Glasgow Council leader Frank McAveety is expected to win his spurs with the Labour Party hierarchy today by taking steps to unseat the man whose support helped him into the post. Lord Provost Pat Lally and his depute, Baillie Alex Mosson, face removal from office after being found guilty by a disciplinary hearing of breaching Labour Party rules.
The party’s National Constitutional Committee banned them from the Labour Group for 18 months and suspended then from holding party office for a similar period. Although the NCC has not specified in what way the two civic leaders have offended.
The new leadership team of Mr McAveety and Councillor Charles Gordon seem to be following the the party line nationally that if they are not fit to be members of the Labour Group, then they are not fit to be Lord Provost and Deputy Lord Provost. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-23679150.html
4 July 1998: Lally Sues Labour over Sleaze Crisis
The Labour leadership received another blow last night when Pat Lally revealed he is to sue them for damages over his suspension from the party following sleaze allegations. His action will outrage party leaders still smarting at the embarrassment of being forced to drop their action against Mr Lally, Lord Provost of Glasgow.
Mr Lally’s decision also dashed any hopes Labour had of drawing a line under the issue, and raised fears that if the legal action drags on it could damage the party as it begins campaigning for next year’s elections to the Scottish parliament. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-110680813.html
19 Feb 1999: The Lord Provost who took on his party and won makes a dramatic exit from local government; Lazarus decides to walk
He is a man who divided a city and a local Labour Party. LAZARUS has finally decided on an exit from his colourful career in local government. It is a decision of his own making and not imposed by his enemies, primarily his bitter opponents in the city council Labour group and their sponsors in the Scottish Labour Party.
Lord Provost Patrick Lally will go down in Glasgow folklore as the man with more resurrections than his Biblical comparator, and also the man who took on the Labour Party and won. His detractors will hail the departure of a politician who set up “a system” – some say presidential – that many had to struggle against for years. Http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-23727872.html
9 Apr 2000: How the Party I Once Loved Let the Flag of Justice Fall
As Lord Provost of Glasgow, Pat Lally – known as Lazarus because of his many political comebacks – faced his toughest battle in 1997 when Labour launched an inquiry into alleged sleaze within the local authority. Council leader Bob Gould publicly claimed that members had been willing to trade their support for overseas trips.
The accusations were never fully investigated. But caught in the political fallout, Lally found himself accused of bringing the party into disrepute by abusing his position. They were widely held to be trumped-up charges.
In the second and concluding extract from Lally’s autobiography, Lazarus Only Done It Once, the veteran politician reveals how he stood up to the might of the party machine and ultimately forced it into a humiliating climbdown.
The hearing into the sleaze allegations that had been brought against me took place in a ground floor committee room of Scottish Labour Party headquarters in Glasgow on a cold but bright day in January 1998. But, given the circumstances, it might just as easily have been the April of George Orwell’s novel, 1984. The party’s National Constitutional Committee, with national officer Mike Penn playing the equivalent role of ‘procurator fiscal’, had gathered to ‘try’ me.
But from the tone of the committee’s introductions, it was apparent they wished proceedings to be conducted in an informal manner. Their mood seemed light-hearted, almost chummy. While I regarded 48 years of membership of the Labour Party something of great value, I felt that these people did not see it that way. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-109691360.html
Frank McAveety was a strong willed character whose time in office as Leader of Glasgow City Council was likened by some to 1930’s Chicago. He courted personal publicity and media attention.
There were some who earmarked him for high office in the wider labour Party. His star was in the ascendency. But the public and City employees did not always agree with his chosen method of operation which to many was over much dictatorial. Consensus was not his strongest quality.
13 Mar 1998: McAveety makes surprise switch in home rule race
The leader of Scotland’s largest local authority plans to desert his post to seek a seat in the new devolved parliament. Frank McAveety, who was installed as head of Glasgow City Council by Labour chiefs last year, wants to be one of the first intake of MSPs.
His decision will surprise many in Labour circles, who expected him to see through reform of the council, which has suffered from a litany of sleaze allegations. Mr McAveety joins some of the most senior Labour councillors in Scotland in applying to be a Labour candidate. Party leaders will be acutely aware of the problem posed by selecting too many candidates from local government backgrounds. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-109825411.html
23 Apr 1998: You can’t vote me out, says McAveety
The Labour leader of Glasgow City Council has agreed every one of his colleagues can be challenged for their posts – except for himself and his deputy. Frank McAveety was attacked by opposition politicians for agreeing impending elections which exempt any challenge for his job. He was accused of Stalinism by Conservatives, who urged him to open his position to the vote. As well as across-the-board elections at the Labour group meeting, the council’s standing orders will be changed to make it easier to oust senior figures.
Mr McAveety has been in touch with national Labour Party officials to agree the holding of an annual general meeting. But Mr McAveety and his deputy, Charlie Gordon, will not accept challenges to their own positions at the meeting, which they hope to hold next month. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-18653663.html
5 Aug 1998: Strikers say McAveety to blame for care protest
Striking social workers yesterday accused Frank McAveety, the Labour leader of Glasgow City Council, of engineering the circumstances that led to their protest.
A mass meeting of more than 1,000 home carers voted to continue the unofficial strike that began when three colleagues were suspended for following union advice and opposing new working practices. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-18663604.html
26 Aug 1998: McAveety backs council tax crackdown
The Labour leader of Glasgow City Council gave his personal backing yesterday to an investigation into staff who have not paid their council tax. Frank McAveety, who was elected on a mandate to root out corruption, is understood to have been deeply embarrassed by the disclosure that 7,700 employees, including some in the finance department – responsible for collecting council and poll tax – had arrears of £4m.
Mr McAveety said “We have identified staff members who are in arrears and asked them to make the payments of their debts. We have issued them all with a letter and we now expect them to pay. If they don’t, then under the finance regulations the council will be able to collect the money at source by arresting wages”. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-18669901.html
19 November 1998: Price of 800 jobs for zero council tax rise
Glasgow’s Labour administration warned yesterday of a further 800 redundancies to prevent a council tax rise, provoking union and opposition anger. Labour leader Councillor Frank McAveety infuriated council workers by stating: “Our purpose on the council is to deliver services to the people of Glasgow.
We’re not an employment agency. But we’ll have to work with the unions to ensure minimal impact on jobs.” With the possibility that many of the redundancies might be compulsory.
Unison’s Glasgow branch secretary Angela Lynes accused Labour of sacrificing workers to enhance its election prospects in May. “The tone of Councillor McAveety’s statement is disgusting,” she said. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-23713537.html
30 Mar 1999: Sign or lose your jobs, city librarians warned
Glasgow’s Labour leadership took striking librarians head-on yesterday by demanding they sign a new contract of employment or lose their jobs, writes John MacCalman, Municipal Correspondent. The contract offers pay enhancements to librarians in exchange for more “flexible” working practices. Labour leader, Councillor Frank McAveety, said: “It’s quite clear what the new contract is indicating. The contract is enhancing the core payment. “It’s addressing the concerns about loss of allowances and it is making the libraries provision central to change in Glasgow.
Those staff who believe in that agenda will have no difficulty in accepting this contract.” He refused to state what would happen to staff who refused to sign but the implication was quite clear – they would be regarded as having dismissed themselves. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-23730935.html
17 Feb 1998: Glasgow Council Apologises For Ripping Up George Square
Council chiefs last night apologised to the people of Glasgow after bulldozers ripped the heart out of George Square. City council leader Frank McAveety admitted the Policy and Resources Committee had decided on the pounds 200,000 facelift without the public being told.
Work started last Thursday when the square’s famous Swedish white beam trees where chopped down by workmen with chainsaws. Council bosses said the 75-year-old trees were felled because they had Dutch elm disease.
And yesterday, bulldozers moved into the square to tear up the colourful flower beds and the grass. The move sparked angry protests from green pressure groups Friends of the Earth and the Scottish Tree Trust. But Mr McAveety said: “The work will leave the square as green as ever. “The work can only enhance what is a most important public space. “We have apologised. We can’t deny that the public were not told about the work. “We regret the inconvenience the work has caused but the surface of the square needed upgrading.”
Eight 15ft trees will replace the ones which were cut down, and the grass will remain around the war memorial. But the flower beds have been taken away to make more space for bigger entertainment events. http://www.restoregeorgesquare.com/so-sorry-as-george-square-is-ripped-up/
18 Feb 1998: Council leader Frank McAveety – the man who turned the heart of Glasgow into a huge building site
Daring to enter George Square, even though citizens want his head on a plate he posed proudly beside diggers ripping it up. Voters are furious at him for ordering workmen to fell 75-year-old trees and rip up flower beds. But braving the wrath of voters, he beamed widely as he told of his plans for a new, improved city centre. As Glasgow gears up to become the City of Architecture and Design next year, the George Square development has become the 16th in the city centre.
From the Broomielaw to Sauchiehall Street, clanking machines are tearing it apart. McAveety insisted that just as we have New Labour, Glasgow would have New George Square. But the council have come under attack for letting work begin without telling the public. Bidding to save face, he posed smiling beside the eyesore. Yes, McAveety conceded, the pounds £200,000 project had come as a surprise to businesses but insisted it’s for everyone’s good.
People were sickened to see the scenes of devastation. McAveety said: “We’ll have an upgraded surface and permanent entertainment space. We will replace the trees which have Dutch Elm Disease. This is a reasonable upgrading, but any substantial change to the square would involve all the citizens of Glasgow.” But some are unconvinced. One, Graeme Robertson, said: “This is a disgrace – we’re supposed to be attracting tourists and the politicians have ripped the place apart.” Sheila McIntyre added: “The square looked fine as it was.” Environmental groups have also expressed dismay at the devastation. McAveety said: “I understand the concerns, but would ask people to wait.”
Other projects which have turned the city into a massive building site are causing chaos. On Buchanan Street, pavements are littered with debris from a huge shopping centre. Pedestrians have to dodge scaffolding on West George Street outside a new hotel. Work is under way on a bar, restaurant and flats in Renfield Street and housing in Sauchiehall Street. Renovation at Central Station, the refurbishment of an office block and another conversion have created “chicanes” on busy Hope Street. And contractors are working on a restaurant and pub on North Frederick Street, a tax office on Montrose Street and refurbishment in George Street. ( The Free Library)
14 Years later: 12 Jul 2012: George Square redevelopment: We ask the councillors
It’s been dubbed ‘red square’ by those who are scathing of the choice of bright floor colour. For some it is just an embarrassment but for others who are more cynical, the crimson carpet which smothers George Square was nothing more than a gleeful snub to the opposition from a triumphant Labour in the post 1997 era. Regardless of its heritage, the red asphalt which covers the area at the heart of the city could be soon set to disappear in yet another multi million pound development.
In a plea to residents, Baillie Matheson is appealing for ideas and opinions from local people on what should be done in the form of a consultation which will take place online and in focus groups. He wants to hear everyone’s views and has pledged to listen to any ideas put forward. “Glaswegians regard George Square as the very heart of the city, so whatever goes on there is very important to the people. But at the moment, George Square looks tired. We deserve to have a square of international significance. I want the people of Glasgow to get a public square they deserve.” he said. (STV News)
13 Apr 2013: Glasgow City Council leader defiant over George Square allegations
Embattled leader Gordon Matheson of Glasgow City Council believes he will lead the city beyond the 2014 Commonwealth Games. He made the prediction as he stands accused of multiple breaches of the councillors’ code of conduct centering on the controversial design competition to revamp George Square.
In an interview with STV’s Bernard Ponsonby on Tuesday, Mr Matheson was defiant over his conduct and stated that he believed his position was safe beyond the Games that are being hosted in Glasgow next year. The Public Standards Commissioner for Scotland is looking into the allegations he acted improperly during the redesign process, which collapsed amid public outcry.
The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland submitted a complaint about Mr Matheson, alleging that the Labour leader compromised the legal nature of the process and showed improper bias towards a particular design. Kerr Robertson, the former lead architect and projects director with the local authority, has also submitted evidence to the commissioner, saying he was told by council staff “Gordon Matheson would be allowed to choose the winning design”. STV understands that at least one other council official is ready to corroborate Mr Robertson’s claims regarding Mr Matheson. (STV News)
Devolution In 1999 the newly formed Scottish parliament presented Frank with the opportunity to progress his career. He stood down from the position of Leader of Glasgow District Council and gained a seat in the newly formed Scottish Government.
He was promoted to the role of Deputy Minister of Local Government. His future seemed assured. In the period 2000 – 2004 Frank proved to be a controversial character who maintained a high public profile. But progress he did .
10 Mar 1999: McAveety accused of transfer conflict
The controversy over Glasgow’s housing stock transfer reached new depths of bitterness yesterday when leader Councillor Frank McAveety found himself being reported to the council’s Standards Committee for an alleged conflict of interest.
The complaint has been made by Scottish Socialist councillor, Tommy Sheridan who feels his Labour opponent should not have been “proposing and pushing forward” the stock transfer after having been appointed Labour’s housing spokesman for the new Scottish Parliament.
Councillor Sheridan said: “That is a severe conflict of interest which deserves to be investigated by the Standards Committee and I will be calling on the chief executive to call an emergency meeting of the committee in order that this can be raised. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-23729400.html
25 Jun 1999: Are You Trying to Take the Michael Portillo – Frank? McAveety Is Dyeing to Look like Tory Ladies’ Heart-Throb
He’s so vain he probably thinks this item is about him – and he’s right. Deputy Minister for Local Government Frank McAveety is the softer face of socialism.
There have been quips about his smart appearance and even suggestions he is slightly vain. Female admirers have even said he rivals Tommy “Sunbed” Sheridan for the post of First Minister Of Good Looks. And yesterday the 36-year-old gave his critics more ammunition when he admitted that he had dyed his hair brown to get rid of traces of grey beginning to show through. To make matters worse, with a swept-back new style, he now bears a startling resemblance to former Conservative minister Michael Portillo – darling of the Tory blue rinse tendency.http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-60417912.html
17 Aug 1999: Not again, Minister; McAveety told by Labour not to dumb down but it was a photo call too good to miss
It seemed like the perfect opportunity for a politician who likes to get in front of the camera. Slip on a pair of trendy sunglasses and join an aspiring teenage rap band for photo call. But Frank McAveety, the newly-appointed Deputy Minister for Local Government, been officially instructed to stop participating with the more outlandish requests of photographers.
Labour spin doctors believe the trendy politician’s behaviour is out of step with position as a serious Scottish statesman and they have informed the New Labour devotee to be more ‘conservative’ in his approach and acquire some gravitas. Even then Mr McAveety just had to get in on the act and adopted a hip-hop stance for the young band. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-109790501.html
22 Sep 2000: The Scottish Labour Lib/Dem Government and the New Scottish Parliament
It took nearly 300 years to get a Scottish parliament back up and running, but only one year to make people wonder if it was worth the struggle. “All right, heads up and pay attention” the Scotsman said welcoming the legislators back this month for their second try at proving whether Scots can govern themselves. “The silly season is officially over. Time now for the totally absurd season to begin.”
If the political news from the tumultuous first session was bad, the headlines the same day in, The Record suggested that the summer off had not made things any better “Exam Chaos Spreads. Waiting Lists Soar. Beleaguered Ministers’ Careers Take Turn for the Worse. Union Chiefs Threaten Autumn of Discontent.”
The new Parliament — the first in Scotland since 1707 — the fruit of Prime Minister Tony Blair’s program known as devolution, which aimed to decentralize power in the United Kingdom and give more self-determination to Britons who live here, in Wales, in Northern Ireland and eventually in the regions of England.
While the new Parliament can weigh in with decisions on issues like agriculture, education and health and housing, Scotland retains ties to the British Parliament, which continues to regulate strategic areas like defence and social security. For that reason, 16 Scots are Peers in the House of Lords and 45 are members of the House of Commons.
When it first opened, the Scottish Parliament set itself up for a bruising first round, awarding members commemorative medals before they had done anything more substantive than working out their salaries, bonuses, parking spaces and vacation grants.
Then it laid out plans for a grand new home in an inaccessible part of Edinburgh that was to cost $75 million by first estimate and $300 million by current ones. All of this was gleefully chronicled by Scotland’s 21 robustly competitive papers, which turned from a passionate commitment to the idea of devolution to ferocious resentment of the real thing.
“There is a real schizophrenia in this country, said Frank McAveety, the Deputy Minister for local government. The Scottish press lobbied harder than anyone for a parliament, but now that they’ve got it, they’re queuing up to give it a good kicking.”
The lawmakers found themselves heckled in the streets and sneered at in the newspapers. Billy Connolly, the Scottish comic actor and playwright, dismissed them as ”a wee pretendy parliament.”
A seemingly innocuous motion to remove a regulation that limits teachers’ freedom to discuss homosexuality with students seeking counsel provoked a multimillion-dollar campaign of loudspeaker trucks, pickets and billboards accusing the lawmakers of condoning sexual perversion.
When a scandal erupted in the spring over a badly flawed new system of college entrance exams, the Parliament was blamed for letting it happen.
Meanwhile, the lawmakers were seen to be neglecting the real problems affecting Scotland — a feudal landowning system, decrepit housing, an urban drug epidemic, homelessness, an underperforming tourist agency, and inadequate health services for people who live in Britain’s harshest climate and are known for eating too much fried fatty food and indulging in too little exercise to work it off.
The 129 legislators found governing less exhilarating than getting elected. http://www.nytimes.com/2000/09/22/world/edinburgh-journal-scots-have-their-very-own-parliament-to-scold.html
30 Oct 2000: No joke for the gallus McAveety
Frank McAveety, the gravel-voiced Glaswegian deputy Minister for local government, was perhaps just a little too gallus for his own good. Famous for his quick wit and terrible jokes, he was known to be a supporter of Jack McConnell in the run-up to the leadership election.
Mr McAveety let it be known he would be switching his support to Mr McLeish, a move widely condemned as brazen opportunism, even by his own colleagues, who were preparing to support Mr McLeish themselves.
Mr McAveety presumably thought this would save his skin, just when the huge Glasgow housing stock transfer was making progress, with the potential to save his home city up to £1bn of desperately needed money. McConnell won’t forget. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-23824810.html
In 2004 Frank’s fortunes started to look less rosy due to a number of adverse events which exposed his lack of effective political judgement.
6 Mar 2004: Scottish Opera lovers express concern over future direction in letter to culture minister
The Friends of Scottish Opera has launched a campaign asking Frank McAveety, the culture minister, to preserve the future of “an essential part of the fabric of Scotland’s musical life”. The group sent a letter to Mr McAveety, demanding Scottish Opera remains able to produce major performances in the main Scottish theatres.
Several hundred people have already signed the letter, and 150 others have written directly to their MSPs. There are about 1,700 Friends of Scottish Opera, paying £28 to £70 to support opera in Scotland and receive early news of tours and concerts. The group’s manager, Anne Higgins, said she was driven by concern over a letter from Scottish Opera’s chief executive, Christopher Barron, to supporters last month. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-13041347.html
24 Apr 2004: five months of deliberations on a cultural strategy for Scotland, arts minister Frank McAveety announced yet more deliberations
Being Scotland’s arts minister can apparently feel “like a whale swimming in some vast ocean, hoping that someone, somewhere will get the message”. The real effects, says Frank McAveety, begin to emerge 10 to 15 years down the road.
As a youngish politician, McAveety has time on his side, yet he was in a rush on Thursday morning. The marine reference was not his, but that of playwright David Greig, read on the train through from his native Glasgow to his Edinburgh workplace and hastily added to the final version of his long-awaited and much-heralded statement on the arts, to set its course for a generation.
That amendment was why opposition MSPs got the statement only 10 minutes before it was made, which they gave by way of an excuse for lamely producing a series of desultory questions which failed to grasp the significance of the moment. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-10002057.html
14 Jun 2004: Scottish Opera’s Armstrong Describes Executive’s Behaviour as “Brutal and Shameful”
Sir Richard Armstrong, Artistic Director of Scottish Opera, speaking out for the first time about the emergency funding plan which will reduce the company to half of its current staff and will result in a “dark season” in 2005-06, described the Scottish Executive’s behaviour as “brutal and shameful,” and claimed that the executive had an “agenda to reduce the size of the company,” writes Phil Miller.
Miller writes that Armstrong claimed the Executive “had deliberately targeted the opera’s main scale work because it believed it was watched only by a select and elitist audience. I listened the other day to Radio Scotland and caught an interview with Frank McAveety,” Armstrong is quoted as saying. “My jaw dropped in disbelief when the question of the dark season came up and he said ‘Well, Scottish Ballet went dark for two years’. “The ballet went dark because the company was on its last legs . . . the opera is there, delivering what is considered to be the best work of its kind in the UK. Shut it down – why? These constant calls for ‘excellence’ (from the executive): it is there, standing right in front of them, and all they want to do is destroy it. I just don’t get it. It’s a desperate situation for Scotland, not just for Scottish Opera. Where are they going next – who are they going to target next?” (Opera News Scotland)
16 Jun 2004: Sheriff Ridicules Minister’s Fear
A sheriff ridiculed the Tourism Minister Frank McAveety as he cleared two anti-war protestors of terrorising him in the street. Mr McAveety said he had felt the “worst intimidation in his life” while canvassing on Glasgow’s south-side. Sheriff Graeme Warner said the Labour MSP “must live a very sheltered life”.
School teacher Nicola Fisher, 32, was found not guilty and John Harper, 33, not proven of causing a breach of the peace and harassing Mr McAveety. Glasgow Sheriff Court heard the incident took place in the Govanhill area of the city last April. Sheriff Warner said the Labour MSP had “completely blown his credibility” by claiming intimidation. (BBC News Scotland)
18 Jun 2004: Frank McAveety’s uncharacteristic reticence
As a former member of the Scottish Opera Chorus in the Alexander Gibson, Arthur Oldham, Peter Hemmings era, I am deeply saddened at the proposals for the company’s future. If the Scottish Executive, the Scottish Arts Council and the Scottish Opera board implement the planned nine-month “shutdown” and make the full-time chorus redundant it will be a national disgrace.
Much has been written in The Herald and other newspapers throughout the United Kingdom (and further afield) – by and large condemning the proposals – but what concerns me is that, in spite of the anger which has been generated, the culture minister, Frank McAveety, has been uncharacteristically reticent. Surely we are due another sparkling performance on the BBC’s Newsnight programme at least? http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-23570280.html
19 Jun 2004: McAveety has the dreaded ‘full support’ of first minister – McConnell backs arts minister amid Scottish Opera fiasco
Frank McAveety, the beleaguered arts minister, last night received what many football managers have long regarded as an effective death sentence – a vote of full confidence from his boss. The statement from Jack McConnell’s official spokes-woman – “The first minister has full confidence in his minister for culture” – was possibly not what he wanted to hear after a week in which Mr McAveety was condemned by a sheriff, and the Scottish Opera crisis came to a head with the sacking of the chorus. Some observers believe the cumulative damage is now too great to save Mr McAveety, the man who once led Glasgow City Council, but is almost as famous for his record collection and love of Celtic FC. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-23570388.html
24 Jun 2004: Out to lunch’ minister’s apology
Tourism Minister Frank McAveety has been forced to apologise unreservedly for misleading parliament after turning up late for question time. Mr McAveety told MSPs he was detained on ministerial business, but was actually having lunch in the canteen.
Presiding Officer George Reid accepted the minister’s apology over what has already been dubbed “porky pie-gate”. First Minister Jack McConnell told Mr McAveety that his behaviour fell below the standard expected of a minister. A spokeswoman for the Scottish Executive said: “The first minister and Mr McAveety have spoken.
“The first minister has accepted his apology for, and his explanation of, the events at question time today. The first minister has made it clear to the minister that he feels his behaviour today falls below the standards he expects of his ministers and must not happen again.” Mr McAveety, whose portfolio also includes culture and sport, was due to have answered the very first question of the hour-long question time session. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/3837403.stm
29 Aug 2004: The political interview: Culture Minister Frank McAveety entertains
Frank McAveety thinks Scotland has a real story to tell about its culture. He gets passionate about involving people, especially children. And he isn’t eating humble pie about the Scottish Executive’s much-pilloried invention of “cultural entitlements’.
If rumour is right, though, Scotland’s minister for tourism, culture and sport may not be eating much pie at all in the new parliament canteen. He has had a troubled year: in early June he trespassed on the territory of the theoretically arms-length body, the Scottish Arts Council (SAC), to announce a £7m “rescue” package for Scottish Opera. Rescue actually meant redundancy – of the entire chorus. Only recently has the company announced that 20 chorus contracts will be temporarily extended, with 54 jobs to go from other fields. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-10004780.html
6 Sep 2004: McAveety charges jacket to taxpayers
Culture Minister Frank McAveety has been accused of wasting taxpayers’ money after he bought a £280 jacket on expenses. The Glasgow MSP charged the public for the dress kilt jacket, using regulations that allow ministers to claim the cost of clothes for official duties. Mr McAveety wore the jacket at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
Tory finance spokesman Brian Monteith said: ‘I think it is outrageous. The trews I wear at official functions I have paid for myself and I don’t think ministers should expect the taxpayer to pay for theirs.’ The row is the latest of a series to hit Mr McAveety in recent months. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-121732974.html
Frank had been returned to his MSP post in the 2003 and 2007 and gave impression he was content with his lot taking on chairmanship of some committees. But true to form he could not avoid the attention of the media for long.
19 Jul 2009: Labour MSP Frank McAveety-People in Glass Houses!!!
Labour MSP Frank McAveety has attacked the SNP’s record on physical education in schools, calling on Ministers to ‘get serious on sport’. Former Sports Minister McAveety is a fine one to talk. Not only did he once miss a vote because he was busy eating pies, but his Labour five-a-side football team played so poorly in a recent Holyrood tournament that they were relegated to the consolation cup.
15 Jun 2010: Top Scots politician quits committee chair post after lecherous comments about ‘dark, dusky’ girl, 15, in public gallery are picked up on parliament microphones
The girl lusted over as ‘dark and dusky’ by a senior Labour politician is just 15 years old. Frank McAveety was caught on camera ogling a girl he spied in a public gallery of the Scottish parliament. He last night quit as convener of Holyrood’s petitions committee after lurid comments he made about the girl, who was on a work placement with another MSP, were inadvertently picked up on TV.
The married former Scottish culture minister was seen ogling the dark-haired girl in the viewing gallery while speaking to his committee clerk. He was then heard to say: ‘There’s a very attractive girl in the second row. Dark and dusky. ‘We’ll maybe put a wee word out for her. She’s very attractive, very nice, very slim. ‘The heat’s getting to me. She’s got that Filipino look – the kind you’d see in a Gauguin painting.’ The girl at the centre of the comments was on a work placement with the Green Party.
Yesterday the gaffe-prone MSP – who has two children – handed in his resignation as committee convener to Labour leader Iain Gray, apologising for any offence his actions may have caused. But opposition parties last night questioned why Mr McAveety had not been sacked when his comments were first revealed.
Nationalist backbencher Sandra White said the Glasgow Shettleston MSP’s departure called Mr Gray’s leadership into question. She said: ‘Frank McAveety’s comments were utterly inappropriate and he has done the right thing by resigning – it’s just a shame his party leader does not seem to know what that is.
‘Iain Gray should have taken action yesterday as soon as this matter came to light.’ As well as falling foul of Labour bosses, 47-year-old McAveety is likely to be in hot water with his wife Anita.
Mrs McAveety, a blonde and fair-skinned primary school teacher, was at home yesterday afternoon. Speaking from the door of the family’s modern semi-detached house in North Glasgow, the mother-of-two seemed upset. But, when asked about her husband’s comments, she said: ‘I have nothing to say.’
SNP petitions committee member John Wilson, MSP, said: ‘It was clearly an unguarded comment and he has been caught out. Every politician has to be on their guard when they are in front of a microphone or camera.’
Labour last night replaced Mr McAveety as convener of the petitions committee with Midlothian MSP Rhona Brankin. His other role as the party’s sports spokesman will be taken over by Glasgow Anniesland MSP Bill Butler.
Tendering his resignation yesterday, Glasgow Shettleston MSP Mr McAveety said: ‘I would not want the incident to detract in any way from the work of the committee.’ (The Daily Mail)
20 Jun 2010: George Square – Let’s Party
Oh look! There are big tents up in Glasgow’s George Square. Oh, goody! Something exciting must be happening. Maybe it’s a summer version of that sweet little skating thing that happens at Christmas. It’s great. We all look forward to that. So this is bound to be great too, since this is the start of our tourist season, and the council will doubtless be acutely aware it’s important that visitors think well of us, in our progressive, modern, world-class country. Let’s go closer and see what the city fathers and mothers have arranged for us. It’s a competition. Bottom-of-the-barrel “celebrities” will stare at a succession of young women in tight swimwear and decide which one has the biggest breasts, the longest legs, the whitest teeth and the shiniest hair. We’re back in the Dark Ages … the proof is Frank McAveety. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-25221532.html
25 Aug 2010: Frank McAveety under fire for hiring ‘coffin dodger’ remark candidate
The disgraced Labour MSP has come under fire after it emerged that he had hired a former Labour election candidate who had been sacked after making derogatory remarks about old people and ethnic minorities.
An SNP MSP has reacted angrily to the news that Stuart McLennan had been employed by Frank McAveety to work in the Labour MSP’s constituency office in Glasgow. MacLennan was sacked as Labour’s candidate for Moray during the general election campaign when it emerged that he had labelled old people “coffin dodgers”. He also made offensive references to ethnic minorities and alluded to sectarian football songs.
Mr MacLennan is not the first person suspended by the Labour party to have been controversially re-employed. In July, developers Allan Stewart and Stephen McKenna, both Labour party donors, announced they had given disgraced former Labour boss Steven Purcell a post with their charitable foundation.
The businessmen are behind several housing projects in and around Glasgow. In 2007, shortly after the Labour controlled Glasgow council agreed to pay them £1.7 million for a plot of land, one of their firms gave £5000 to Scottish Labour. In 2006 Mr Stewart gave £4100 to his local Labour party in East Kilbride. (Newsnet Scotland)
The MacLennan story: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2010/apr/09/stuart-maclennan-sacked-twitter-general-election
He retired from active politics but retains a caustic anti-SNP wit: https://twitter.com/sensiblestu
6. Frank lost his seat at Holyrood in the 2011 SNP landslide victory. Cast out to the ranks of the unemployed he beavered away in Glasgow local politics with the purpose of rehabilitating his career within local government, where he had enjoyed great success before hanging on the coat-tails of the Labour Party.
But first there were issues from his time in Holyrood that had surfaced and needed to be resolved. The “McAveety Bus” issue rumbled on for months, (he bought the bus using his parliamentary allowance allegedly for use within his constituency. There were also alleged abuses of the expenses allowances levelled against him by a previous colleague. All a bit messy.
16 Jun 2011: Labour Naive, says McAveety
The Scottish Labour Party failed to win the 2011 Holyrood election because it was naive, failed to give people a reason to support it and did not distinguish between ruling parties in Scotland and Westminster. The claim is made in an article in The Herald today by former Glasgow Shettleston MSP Frank McAveety who lost the party’s third- safest seat in Scotland.
As Labour starts a review into its collapse, Mr McAveety said those leading the review – Eastwood MP Jim Murphy and Sarah Boyack, who lost her Edinburgh Central seat and is only back at Holyrood because of the list system – said the party “failed to give people a reason to vote Labour and more worryingly we failed to understand that it is about who runs the Scottish Parliament, not who is in power at Westminster”. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-28922387.html
7 Sep 2011: Labour councillor cull continues as more big names face the axe
The Herald reports that so far 17 of Labour’s 47 councillors in Glasgow have been deselected for the elections next year. Not quite clear if there will be more to deselections to emerge but given that there will also some standing down voluntarily it is clear that most of the current Labour Group will not be Labour candidates next time.
Certainly councillors, of any party, should not take being reselected for granted. But it is by no means clear that the deselections in Glasgow have been carried out for the right reasons. Apparently someone from London called Ken Clark has been carrying out the interviews and has been “brutal.”
The report adds: It is understood candidates are quizzed on their political guile, local activities and asked to describe “the Nolan Principles”, which govern standards in public life. It comes as Labour faces the biggest challenge to its grip on the council in over 30 years on the back of the SNP’s buoyant performance in May’s national election.
But names are also emerging of potential replacements, including former MSPs Frank McAveety and Bill Butler, ex-councillor Chris Kelly, James Adams, an RNIB campaigns manager who works with Anas Sarwar, Soryia Siddique, a lecturer at Cardonald College, and Aileen McKenzie, another ally of the Sarwar dynasty.
A Labour spokesman said: “We have had huge interest from party members in Glasgow, with over 100 applying to stand for the council for Labour, so competition is tougher than in previous years. “Labour will be fielding Glasgow’s finest in May but we are taking nothing for granted.”
Political guile is all very well but there is a case for having a mix of strengths in a group of councillors. There might well be those with experience in residents associations or through their jobs (businessmen, teachers would be examples) which might well be practical beneficial to them as being effective councillors. But they might be less strong on making speeches or writing press releases. Should they be ditched? Not if there are others who can cope with the political cut and thrust.
Also if you are deselecting someone it should be done diplomatically and sensitively. Labour are the nasty party in trying to make it as unpleasant as possible. This ritual humiliation of asking councillors what the Nolan principles are is pointless. (Incidentally for any Labour councillors reading this who are yet to have their selection interview the principles are Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty and Leadership.)
Talking of selflessness the councillor allowances in Glasgow and the other Scottish councils (imposed by Holyrood) are quite excessive. The basic allowance in Glasgow is £16,234. Furthermore 59 of the 79 councillors are paid an extra allowance of one kind or another. At the moment Labour have 49 councillors. In this context for them to have “over 100” people offering to be Labour candidates does not strike me as particularly impressive. (conservativehome)
17 Sep 2011: Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do to You
As a former English teacher, Frank McAveety should have been aware of this quotation from John Dryden “Be nice to people on your way up because you might meet ’em on your way down.” When McAveety first cut the hours of one of his constituency staff and then sacked him because “he was not fulfilling the duties expected of him”, he might have felt that Cllr Andy Muir was dispensable.
In fact he did, because McAveety was then allegedly part of the Labour cabal that decided that Andy Muir was also useless as a councillor and had him deselected (leaving an opening for the same downward travelling Frank McAveety to stand for Glasgow Council next May).
Employers are not always transparent in their reasons for dismissal of their employees, and there is an alternative reason for cutting McAveety’s staff. The MSP Expenses Scheme gives an allowance for Members’ Support Allowances split into two categories – Office Cost Provision and Staff Cost Provision.
Most MSPs reasonably transfer money from office cost to staff. It has always been unusual to transfer money the other way round. However McAveety was one of the rare examples of an MSP cutting his staffing costs, to fund his office costs – including his mobile surgery (the infamous “McAveety’s bus”).
Mr Muir may either have been disgruntled, or found a core of moral fibre not previously apparent. Whichever, Muir has just gone off to Strathclyde Police to allege that information in his possession, relating to Mr McAveety’s allowance claims as an MSP, suggests that the claims may have not been as pure as snow.
At least Muir was fulfilling an election pledge. Back in 2008 his campaign literature said “Andy Muir will work hard to direct our share of extra police where local people feel they are needed”. Strathclyde Police are probably very well aware that disgruntled employees will be bearing grudges, but can also give very useful information on activities that need investigation.
Since Muir is a member of the Strathclyde Police Authority, and sits on the Complaints and Professional Standards Committee, his complaint could hardly be summarily dismissed.
Newsnet Scotland has an interest in this story too, because on 8 March this year, they published an article on “McAveety’s bus”. Unlike Mr Muir, they never alleged that McAveety did anything illegal but noted that his response to their suggestion that his use of public monies had been inappropriate was to say that “the costs have been approved by the Parliamentary authorities and are within the overall cost envelope for office costs.”
The implication, of course, in that statement is claims have been subjected to forensic enquiry before approval. This is wholly misleading. The job of the staff at the SPCB is to ensure that there is an appropriate invoice for the claim and that it fits in with the appropriate head of expenditure, and that there is sufficient balance left to meet the claim.
The total responsibility is on the MSP to certify that the claim is appropriate in terms of “value for money “ and “efficiency and effectiveness” in line with para 1.1.2 of the Members’ Expenses Scheme.
Although Mr McAveety suggested that there were “significant inaccuracies” in their report, he failed to respond to their request that he specify these so that they could be corrected prior to publication. Should the polis come knocking on his door, he will be required to give answers to them. (Newsnet Scotland)
19 Sep 2011: Cash probe for former minister McAveety
Former Labour MSP Frank McAveety is facing a police probe into overtime and bonus payments claimed on his Holyrood expenses. The ex-culture minister is facing allegations of ‘financial irregularities’ at his former constituency office in Glasgow.
Andy Muir, a former parliamentary assistant to Mr McAveety and a Glasgow councillor, has given a statement to police about events during his employment in the office between 2008 and 2010.
It is understood the allegations centre on payments running into several thousands of pounds paid to Mr Muir, who was sacked last year. Reports yesterday suggested the police probe was looking into the trail the money took after it was paid into Mr Muir’s bank account.
18 September 2011: Pressure grows over McAveety cash probe
Labour was under pressure last night to suspend former Culture Minister Frank McAveety as police launched an investigation into bonus and overtime payments claimed through his parliamentary allowances. Strathclyde Police confirmed on Friday it was investigating a complaint about alleged financial irregularities at McAveety’s former constituency office in Glasgow Shettleston. Andy Muir, a serving Glasgow Labour councillor, volunteered a statement to CID officers this week about events during his employment in the office between 2008 and 2010. ( The Herald Scotland)
24 September 2011: McAveety is held off Labour list amid probe
Ex Minister and MSP Frank McAveety has been kept off Labour’s approved list of candidates for next year’s municipal election amid a police probe into financial irregularities. Labour’s Glasgow branch has ruled Mr McAveety will have to be re- interviewed following the news last week that a city councillor and former aide of the ex-MSP for Shettleston had contacted police about the use of public money at his constituency office. Mr McAveety said he was “happy” to be re-interviewed, a move which he described as “procedural”. However, Labour sources said the re-interview plans “did not look good” for the former culture and sport minister. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-29712270.html
15 January 2012: The poverty campaigner who walked away with £500k of poor kids’ cash
The head of a charity set up to tackle poverty in one of the poorest parts of Scotland has been given a golden goodbye worth £500,000 by Labour councillors.
Ronnie Saez landed a package worth around six times his salary after being made redundant from his post as chief executive of Glasgow East Regeneration Agency (GERA). His exit deal comprised a “severance payment” of £42,000 and a £470,000 boost to his pension, which included a discretionary £208,000. According to an internal report leaked to the Sunday Herald, the pension top-up was paid using reserves earmarked for the redevelopment of a school in Dalmarnock, a deprivation black-spot.
Three of the five GERA directors who approved the Saez deal were Labour councillors in Glasgow. The GERA chair was James Coleman, a former deputy council leader; the vice-chair was Councillor Catherine McMaster; and the third councillor was George Redmond, who signed off the accounts last month. Since leaving GERA, Saez has set himself up as a consultant, briefly going into business with Frank McAveety, the former Labour MSP.
15 May 2012: From Holyrood to George Square – the return of Frank McAveety
Returning to Glasgow City Council – the place where it all began 24 years ago for the former English teacher – he’s just been through a week of induction and is setting up home in his new office. Twelve months after the shock loss of his Scottish parliamentary seat in the east end of Glasgow, Frank McAveety is once again representing the people of Shettleston. Some might say he is a glutton for punishment. He last entered the city chambers as a councillor 13 years ago, and there have been many changes in the administration of local government since then.
For the last year, McAveety has worked as a consultant helping to get young people into jobs and then for sports outfit Sidekix as an education coordinator. He says the experiences more than prepared him for the slog of the Labour doorstep campaign – where candidates were ordered by party chiefs to chap hundreds of doors and meet constituents every week. Despite numerous boundary changes, McAveety represented the east end of the city for 23 years, first as a councillor, then as an MSP. As an MSP, he was a government minister on three occasions, so surely it might seem like a bit of a step down to return to local politics after the prestige of ministerial positions? “With local government and Scottish Parliament you’ve got two very different roles,” he says.
I don’t think one is any more important than the other. I think the role of being an effective local councillor and delivering services that are effective and make a difference to the citizens of Glasgow is a noble role. I’ve got a lot of commitment. I was brought up to believe you should put something back. The local Labour party wanted a strong group of candidates to stand. On assessment they certainly believe I still have a lot to offer.” http://news.stv.tv/west-central/99809-from-holyrood-to-george-squarefrank-mcaveety-returns-to-politics/
4 Jul 2012: Glasgow East End Derelict Primary School Arson Attack leads to asbestos Scare
Councillor Frank McAveety met with members of the Shettleston community on Tuesday to discuss the recent asbestos scare in the area. The public meeting saw discussion around the possibility of asbestos exposure after a derelict school building was set alight in May, scattering asbestos fibres into the air. St Mark’s Primary School on Muiryfauld Drive, Shettleston was closed in late 2010 and lay derelict until it was torched by vandals in May this year. Now the community may be at risk after Glasgow City Council confirmed that asbestos fibres had been identified in the gutters of houses in the surrounding area. Asbestos exposure has been linked to the development of diseases like malignant mesothelioma, a rare and untreatable form of lung cancer. The community meeting prompted worried residents to vent their frustration about potential asbestos exposure and the perceived lack of care shown by the local authority.
“This was a disaster waiting to happen” said one of the first residents to arrive at the St. Mark’s Church Hall for the community discussion. “The school was sitting there, empty, for ages and we knew it would be targeted by bored kids in the neighbourhood. What we didn’t know was that it was full of asbestos” the worried resident continued. “It was a sunny day and most people in the area were outside when the fire broke out. No-one told us about toxic dust or anything, and we all carried on regardless.” “I’m furious that me and my kids have been put in danger.”
Frank McAveety, who chaired Tuesday’s meeting, said “It was great to have everyone under one roof at a time when concerns are running high. The worrying accounts of local residents who didn’t receive accurate information on the incident demonstrate a real need for the Council to be more proactive in reassuring the public. There are other buildings in the East End that are equally vulnerable. Lessons must be learned from this. Now is the time for action, and I’m working with the people of Shettleston to get answers to key questions that arose last week. (BBC Scotland News)
20 Aug 2012: Councillor Frank McAveety has been given the job of making cycling the most popular activity in the city.
The former sports minister said he was determined to see biking overtake walking, football, swimming and dancing as the city’s favourite sport. Following the Olympic success of Sir Chris Hoy and the prospect of top-level track cycling at the eponymous velodrome and mountain biking course at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the campaign hopes to encourage all forms of cycling.
As reported in the Evening Times, Bradley Wiggins’ recent victory in the Tour De France resulted in a rise of interest in the sport. Mr McAveety said: “We are looking for ways we can drive forward radical changes for cycling in the city. (The Evening Times)
31 Mar 2013: Thousands March From Glasgow Green to City Chambers – To say ‘Axe the bedroom tax.’
Labour MP Ann McKechin, MSP Frank McAveety and Glasgow City Councillor George Redmond were among the group who marched. Arriving in George Square, Westminster MP Ann McKechin said ‘I’m not surprised at this turnout. People are shocked by the scale of this unfair and unjust tax. The Westminster government doesn’t understand the full impact it will have.’
But Labour politicians were castigated by different speakers. Said one: ‘They might have marched near the front but it is inconsistent with what they are doing to the families they are victimising in the learning disability community in Glasgow. Glasgow City Council has these families on its hit list by closing three of the seven day centres they use.’
Campaigners against the closure of Glasgow’s day centres were out in force. Another speaker put it more bluntly: ‘Glasgow City Council should be ashamed of themselves. They have influence and power. They should tell all Housing Associations in Glasgow and Glasgow Housing Association that there must be NO EVICTIONS in the city. We need to know who’s side they are on.’
The same speaker highlighted the £100 billion cost of the Trident refit and warheads for Faslane nuclear base. She urged people to support a March on Easter Monday from Glasgow to Faslane which they intended to shut down for the day. ‘All these things are connected. They say there is no money, so attack the poor. But they can spend billions on weapons which can wipe out half of humanity. If we stand together we have the power, strength and determination to stop evictions and end this bedroom tax policy.’ http://www.localnewsglasgow.co.uk/tag/msp-frank-mcaveety/
Frank is reportedly readying himself for the post of leader of Glasgow District Council, if Gordon Matheson is elected to the post of Deputy leader of the Labour party in Scotland. Lazarus rising indeed!!!!!!
28 Jun 2015: Pressure builds on Matheson as coup plotters push on
Gordon Matheson is under growing pressure to quit as Glasgow City Council leader after it emerged his Labour colleagues had drafted a letter designed to topple him within weeks ( The Herald Scotland)
5 Jul 2015: Labour rebels dig in after disciplinary threat over Matheson
Rebel Labour councillors in Glasgow last night said they would defy a “heavy-handed” attempt to stop them discussing the future of city leader Gordon Matheson. Around half the ruling Labour group have so far signed a motion demanding an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on August 10 in order to oust Matheson. ( The Herald Scotland)
10 Sep 2015: Glasgow Labour elect a not so new council leader to take the administration towards the 2017 Scottish local elections.
Frank McAveety, a former Scottish Government minister who led the council from 1997-99, won the support of his councillor colleagues by 24 votes to 19 over competitor Malcolm Cunning. McAveety’s election marks a transfer of power after Gordon Matheson left the role following his failure to be selected at deputy leader of the Scottish Labour party.
Speaking on Good Morning Scotland, McAveety said: “I’m delighted for the opportunity to lead my home city for the second occasion. Ultimately, yesterday [his election meeting] was a conversation about how we want to move the city even further forward. “Obviously Labour face a major challenge in Scotland and we need to rebuild. One of the ways to rebuild is by good and effective local government.”
McAveety also gave his explanation for why a majority of Glaswegians had backed Scottish independence: “In the later few weeks of the referendum campaign there was a desire for a fairer Scotland and a fairer Glasgow, and also a sense of protecting public institutions like the health service. “Those are core Labour values…it’s not a surprise that there were people persuaded by the Yes Campaign that [independence] was the best way to do that.”
McAveety lost his seat in the Scottish parliament at the 2011 election, but was then returned as a Glasgow councillor the following year. He has been involved with culture and local government policy over the past 20 years, including serving on the board of The Arches (which is now being shut down).
McAveety previously resigned from the Scottish Parliament’s petitions committee after inappropriate comments about a 15-year-old audience member.
He was also forced to apologise for “misleading parliament” after failing to show for ministerial questions due to eating a plate of mince pie and beans. The incident was termed ‘Piegate’. In the same year McAveety took anti-war protestors to court for alleged harassment, but had his claims dismissed by sheriff Graeme Warner. Warned said McAveety “over-egged the pudding” in his evidence. An SNP activist in Glasgow said McAveety had too much “baggage” to stop an SNP victory. https://commonspace.scot/articles/2389/frank-mcaveety-faces-snp-challenge-as-new-leader-of-glasgow-city-council
24 Sep 2015: Glasgow is not a nationalist city says Frank McAveety
In his first in-depth interview since taking the biggest job in Scottish local government, Frank McAveety said he had inherited a pro-independence city because voters wanted a different style of politics. Describing himself as a “believer in making big shifts”, he questioned whether First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had delivered for constituents in Glasgow, accusing her of a “selfie” approach to politics.
Questioning the impact the SNP has had in its eight years in power, the Glasgow City Council leader accused it of taking “a showbiz variety of what it is to be a Government”, adding that it created an illusion of change but shied away from major decisions.
The former Scottish Executive minister and MSP took the reigns at Glasgow a fortnight ago following the decision by predecessor Gordon Matheson to stand down after his failed bid to become Scottish Labour’s deputy boss.
Since then he has been taking stock of the scale of his challenge in both running the country’s largest city in the context of dwindling financial resources and being the figurehead for Labour at a time when it looks like losing control of Glasgow for the first time in four decades.
Speaking ahead of his first council official business as leader, Mr McAveety said he had “clear ambitions” which would materialise in the coming months over what the council under his leadership would do. He said local government had caught itself in a “Gordian knot” with the Scottish Government over finances and was seeking a meeting with Ms Sturgeon to discuss areas of mutual interest.
He said, “I’m a product of a city that gave opportunity because of the values of the Labour Party. And I don’t believe its a city defined by nationalism. The Yes vote that was narrowly returned was because people wanted politics to be different and they also wanted people committed to “how do we build fairness and opportunity”.
Glasgow’s SNP group leader Susan Aitken said: “Frank McAveety’s astonishing arrogance is all-too-typical from Labour in Scotland. Mr McAveety may be content to stick his fingers in his ears and attempt to ignore reality but he simply won’t be able to avoid his own party’s legacy of failure in our city, compared to the SNP’s record of delivery in government.” ( The Herald Scotland)
Anne Marie O’Donnell
13 Dec 2015: Glasgow Council leader Frank McAveety declines to offer full support for chief executive Anne Marie O’Donnell
Glasgow City Council leader Frank McAveety has refused to give full backing to the local authority’s first female chief executive. McAveety’s allies criticised Anne Marie O’Donnell at a private Labour meeting last week over a perceived lack of detail on budget cuts.
Asked if he had “full confidence” in her, the leader told the Sunday Herald: “Given the scale of the unprecedented budget cuts we are facing, everyone in the council leadership – councillors and senior officials – is working together to meet these challenges and protect vital services in Glasgow.”
Glasgow City Council, which has had to make huge spending cuts in recent years, is expecting further bad news this week when Finance Secretary John Swinney announces his budget. Local authority leaders are privately expecting a five per cent cut that will severely impact on front-line services. McAveety, who is enjoying his second stint as leader after succeeding Gordon Matheson, is said to be worried about the political impact of the cuts in the run-up to the next council elections.
A council insider, speaking on condition of anonymity, said three of McAveety’s allies criticised the chief executive at a recent Labour group meeting. The frustration was borne out of a belief that O’Donnell had not come with good enough ideas on how to redesign services and make up the looming budget shortfall.
It is understood her presentations to Labour councillors have not gone down well. Another council source said O’Donnell was appointed when Matheson was leader and was perceived to be closer to him than McAveety. O’Donnell secured the post last year after the retirement of long-standing chief executive George Black.
She was the council’s executive director of corporate services from 2011, with responsibility for legal services, elections, human resources, procurement, city resilience, customer and business support, and corporate governance.
A solicitor, she joined Glasgow District Council in 1991 and, following local government reorganisation, was promoted to chief solicitor in 1996. She has also been assistant head of legal and administrative services and had a two-year secondment as depute director of social work services.
O’Donnell said last year after being unveiled as chief executive: “I am delighted and humbled to have been appointed. This is a really exciting time for Glasgow. “There is no doubt the next few years will be challenging for everyone in local government, but I believe we have the energy, the ideas and, crucially, the best people to meet those challenges.”
Susan Aitken, the SNP group leader on the council, said: “It’s a sure sign that an administration has run out of ideas when they start attacking council staff. Glasgow Labour are in a mess – riddled with in-fighting and patently lacking in strategy, vision or effective leadership. “Frank McAveety should take responsibility, do the job he’s paid to do, sort out the disaster area that is his own group, and stop trying to dump the blame for his mess on council officers.”