County manager responds to auditor’s concerns

An audit of Donegal County Council's 2008 Financial Statement has raised a number of issues, particularly in relation to the employment of consultants and the low level of water charges collected.

In their report on 2008, the auditors note that questions raised the previous year about consultants employed to advise the council on transforming the service revealed that proper tendering procedures were not used.

In his response, County Manager Michael Mc Loone says he entered into an arrangement with a Corporate Management Specialist to implement a research programme aimed at resolving staff issues which predatede his appointment as County Manager, and also pave the way for decentralisation, and the implementation of the Better Local Government programme.

He says the work done as a result of the collaboration has led to significant savings, as well as vastly improving industrial relations on the council. Addressing the issue of tendering in a detailed and lengthy response, he says the specific expertise he required was not available elsewhere, so tendering was not an option.

On the issue of the 32% Commercial Water yield, Mr Mc Loone says the number of commercial customers in 2008 was 10,000, almost double the 2006 figure. He says since then, new debt management systems have been put in place which will see the yield increase signfificantly.