The Scottish APSE Housing and Building seminar takes place at Dalmahoy and due to other commitments its a 5.30am start for me as I am speaking in the first session on Trading and Charging.
Despite the early start I still only make it with about 10 minutes to spare. However what I hear is good stuff as the Chief Executive from Inverclyde, John Mundell talks about the turnaround strategy that is on-going in the authority following a damming inspection report a year or two back. I have known John for years and its good to see that someone from an operational services background has got to Chief Executive level - could this be a new trend!
I do my slot and then in the late afternoon there is a presentation to a number of long standing Councillors who have been involved in APSE and are standing down in May. Its a sad occasion for me as many of them are friends or colleagues I have worked closely with, so I take the opportunity during my speech to ridicule them with my best stories about them over the years and we all have a laugh. Bill Martin and John Moran from North Lanarkshire, David McGrouther from West Lothian, Margaret Paterson from Clackmannanshire and Ron Scrimgour from Angus amongst others. On a serious note these people have given a massive amount of time and effort to public service with very little reward and in my view deserve greater credit and recognition than they are being given.
Although the event is really about Councillors one officer is also honoured, Bob Jackson from Dundee who is retiring in May and who has been the Scottish APSE Financial Advisor for years. He was always one of the key players in Scotland during my time there and I viewed him as a mentor. I certainly never went into a meeting of Scottish Regional Council not knowing if he was on my side when it came to a key vote. His tightness with the finances is legendary and that is probably what allowed us to invest in resources in Scotland and make our operations there such a success..