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Robinson claims unequal treatment at SIC

SHETLAND councillor Gary Robinson has voiced his concern about a meeting he says took place with representatives of Aberdeen City Council prior to next week’s public hearing into the island authority.

In 2008 Aberdeen City were the subject of a major inquiry by the Accounts Commission into their poor governance, low staff morale and overspending.

On Monday and Tuesday the Accounts Commission will hold a similar public hearing about governance and accounting issues at Shetland Islands Council.

On Thursday Mr Robinson, who will be giving evidence to the inquiry on Monday afternoon, said that senior SIC councillors and officials had met with Aberdeen City’s chief executive Sue Bruce and council leader John Stewart last Monday in Lerwick.

“I believe the fact that only some of those councillors and officers who are due to be heard by the Accounts Commission next week were invited, is wholly unacceptable,” the Shetland West councillor said.

“It also gives further weight to my submission to the Commission where I raised concerns that not all councillors were being given access to the same help and assistance.”
He pointed to the treatment he received at the hands of the SIC’s head of legal services Jan Riise during a dispute he had with fellow councillor Caroline Miller, which led both members to be reported to the Standards Commission for Scotland.

Mr Robinson said that while Mrs Miller publicly thanked Mr Riise for his help and assistance, he had been advised by the legal chief that he was “on his own”.

Mr Riise was unavailable for comment on Thursday.