Council officers get in a right mess over doggy bags

Douglas Ross - sharp response led to change of dog waste bag plans.
Douglas Ross – sharp response led to rapid change of dog waste bag plans.

MORAY COUNCIL OFFICERS overstepped their authority when they decided to withdraw the free provision of dog waste bags without the decision being taken by elected members.

That was the outcome today of a brief and bizarre exchange when first officials sent an Email to elected members notifying them of the decision – and then were forced to retract within hours.

Fochabers/Lhanbryde councillor and local MSP Douglas Ross immediately release a press statement slamming the decision and calling for a retraction.

A response to that came within hours of his contacting council officers – Mr Ross being contacted by Stephen Cooper, the head of direct services at the local authority, who assured him that he would be arranging for a second email to be sent to all elected members that rescinded the decision.

Mr Cooper agreed with Councillor Ross that the matter should have gone to elected members before any decision was made.

Councillor Ross said: “I welcome the fact that officers have agreed they did not have the authority to make this change and have immediately changed their mind after I contacted them. As I said this is an important issue for local communities and I hope this is now the end of the matter.

“If it does however come back to elected members I would strongly oppose these plans. The argument for retaining this service is very clear and crucially this is something I believe our communities want to see kept rather than the prospect of increased dog fouling across Moray.”

When the story broke earlier today on insideMoray, the majority opinion from a large number of readers via Facebook was agreement with the decision, many pointing out that in times of severe financial pressures for the Council saving £7000 on the free issue of the bags was inevitable.