County manager says Donegal at the fore in local government reform

The County Manager has again given a vigorous defence of a decision to employ the services of two experts to develop a new system of work to streamline local government.

It follows questions raised in in an audit of the council's accounts for 2008 which question why the services of the two tenders did not go out to tender.

The manager was also keen to clarify the situation publicly as his role in the employment of the specialists has been questioned  in emails and phone calls to councillors bu some critical of the managers role in the process.

He questioned the motives of those that perceive themselves  'whistleblowers'

In a presentation of a report this morning the county manager said today's meeting was perhaps the most important meeting of his career.

He has argued that the services being provided by the specialists was a new concept which was not available on the open market.

Donegal County Council, in 1997, was given funding by the government , to fund a pilot scheme to look at how local government was run.

From that the 'Whole System of Work' was compiled by the two specialists which looks at a number of areas including efficiencies within the council and how they can be implemented.

Today the specialists, Stephen Cang and David Stroll, have been outlining to councillors in great detail how the 'Whole System of Work' operates, what it will achieve and how much it will costs the council.

They have also outlined how they own the Intellectual Property Rights to the system backing up the county manager's argument that their services were not available on the open market hence them not being procured by tender.

The county manager underlined his faith in the system, saying that Donegal is going from being perceived as a backwater to an edge leader in terms of local government reform.

It was also revealed today that the the Environment minister has requested a copy of the 'Whole System of Work' which will be forwarded to the department responsible for transforming public services.

It will also be considered in the context of the Local Government Efficient Review Group's work.

The county manager said this was a very positive development and vindicates the spearheading work being carried out in Donegal.