We refer to Dennis Leask’s letter, dated 15 July 2020 and feel we need to make some things clear about the respective roles played by councillors and senior officials.
Mr Leask’s letter refers to a petition received by the council. Competent petitions are, per the council’s constitution, considered by the full council at the next available meeting. The council then has two options: note the terms of the petition or call for a report.
The petition referred to in Mr Leask’s letter was considered by the full council at its meeting on Thursday 2 July 2020.
After full consideration the council, on the motion of the political leader, unanimously decided to note the terms of the petition and forward it to NHS Shetland.
NHS Shetland are, of course, the organisation responsible for delivering Covid-19 testing in Shetland through various government schemes.
Following our decision, the council’s chief executive Mrs Sandison then sent the letter, from which Mr Leask widely quotes, to the lead petitioner.
In doing so she was acting correctly, appropriately and with complete integrity upon the instructions of the, democratically elected, council who considered the matter.
Whilst we disagree with Mr Leask he is, of course, entitled to his opinion.
However, perhaps in future, if he feels the need to criticise, he should direct it towards those who took the decision and not towards a public servant acting under councillors’ instructions and who cannot answer back.
Finally, there will be a council election in 2022 and we would encourage Mr Leask to put his name forward as a candidate.
Malcolm Bell, Convener
Steven Coutts, Political Leader