Not before time, the Edinburgh Council Audit Committee is to investigate the governance issues concerning the situation where some Councillors serving on the Council's Transport, Infrastructure and Environment Committee (TI&E) also have positions on the Board of Transport Initiatives Edinburgh (tie).
Edinburgh citizens have felt that these Councillors, including the Convenor of the TI&E, Councillor Gordon Mackenzie, have been strongly influenced by their obligations to the trams project through their Board membership of tie. It is clearly in the interests of the trams project for all objections and difficulties which might affect the trams project to be removed - this is not in the interests of the citizens of the city.
What should happen immediately is for all the Councillors with dual responsibilities to give up one of these two positions. Only in this way can there be no conflict of interest and the citizens of the city be served in an unbiased way. Unfortunately the situation has gone on for so long, that the Councillors with dual responsibilities can no longer be considered to be impartial, so if there is to be real transparency, they should all resign from both committees and fresh, unbiased, individuals introduced. The Council Audit Committtee should review the position in the light of the Councillor's Code of Conduct and adhere strictly to the principles set out there.
The idea of having councillors on the Board of TIE was meant to provide oversight and control.
However by inserting councillors into the 'Company side' and having those councillors also serve on the key oversight committees on the 'Council side' ensured the governance crisis that has now become a catastrophe.
The council control has narrowed down in this project to four Director-councillors who have had impossibly conflicted roles at the heart of the process--- in this unnecessarily complex structure lies the virtually inevitable genisis of every problem that has occurred since then