Oh, well listen; it’s a good one.
So, this council got hold of Price Waterhouse Coopers and they paid them £650,000. Well worth it, you might think, and you’d be probably be right, if it weren’t for one small glitch. The council’s expected £1.9 m savings actually turned out to be only £250,000.
So, you wonder, who could have come up with such a stupid scheme? And the answer is corporate director Paul Wallace, heads of service John Arthur and Gordon McLoughlin, and head of IT project management Arun Menon, all of whom have (and you might think, quite rightly) been suspended from work.
You might think it a little less right that they are suspended on full pay, a collective £6,000 a week. But you would surely be completely dumbfounded if I told you that the suspensions have lasted 17 weeks, yes 17 weeks, so far. And that is just the investigation. After that has concluded, the nature of any disciplinery action will have to be decided.
Those carrying out the investigations into what went wrong and who is to blame are apparently lost and bamboozled as they struggle to sort out the mess, and no one is very sure how much longer the group of suspendees will continue to be paid generously at the expense of the local council taxpayer and the population of Scotland.
John Mundell, who is the chief executive of Inverclyde with overall responsibility for the project, and whom you might have reasonably though would have also been suspended, but hasn’t been, has been accused of failing to convene meetings of the steering group. Of course at that level of management, you’d have expected one of the others to mention this to him... and if he refused, to call the meetings himself, or pass on concerns to an elected member who could take appropriate action.
But it does seem to me that expecting anything except the unexpected of Inverclyde, is probably not a good bet. In that light you probably won't be surprised to know that the scheme with all its shortcomings, is still being operated.
I wonder if there is any connection between this farce and the fact that in February the Leader of the council, and of the Labour group, Mr Stephen McCabe stepped down from that role to “spend more time with his family”.