Good turn out of City and County Councillors who all spoke in favour of libraries, making the expected comments. Simon Kearney a Council Officer presented the Council’s position, making a great deal about the consultation process which is going to take place AFTER the budget is set in Feb. I asked for clarification about the consultation and he confirmed our concerns that the consultation is about community bids not the original decision.
Cllr. Roy Dark, said it was important for the 4 County Councillors to work together with volunteers to submit bids for community libraries, so we could get our share of the monies which have been set aside to support these groups. (£600K set aside, but this is not just for libraries it’s for youth services and all the other things that are getting cut, our share for a community library would be small) He then asked for volunteers from the room and said he would arrange a meeting with Cllr. Heathcote to discuss a bid. No volunteer raised their hand. But then no announcement was made that he would be making that statement. I said, and I hope it is in their minutes, that they were bullying and pressuring us into making a community bid when we still want the original decision discussing. Judith Heathcote has said the library closures are a proposal, see the response I got from her to my questions about the legal issues.
In the Open Session Alexander Babkovitch went through detailed observations and suggestions about ways of saving money and reducing the library running costs, but no one was listening. Keith Mitchell has continually asked for suggestions about ways to save money and I’m sure the business brains in our City have plenty of advice but he doesn’t want to hear it, and it’s not our job anyway? Do you remember what happened to the suggestion that £500,000 be cut from from councillors expenses, defeated.