Post Three – Tempus Fugit

In relation to adverse weather, this had been designated a high priority area for winter planning.” Katherine Mackinnon, Head of Human Resources, Corporate Services Department, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, in a written statement to the Chief Executive.

It has never been revealed to me by whom had adverse weather been so designated and what level of priority had it been allocated and when? In any case, it was “adverse” news for me. It led to Katherine Mackinnon initiating disciplinary action against me and referring me to Occupational Health “to ascertain your fitness for your post”. More of all that in due course however.

In November 2005, management decided to establish a designated telephone service so that the public could ring a discrete number and receive local weather information via a recorded message. I informed management how it could be done, what it would cost and I even made a telephone line available for the service to be implemented on.

Thursday 01 November 2007: I have again rung the telephone number (01851 709913) on which the Premier Call Minder Service was established in order to provide weather information to the public. In her email of 1236 hours on Wednesday 23 November 2005, Katherine Mackinnon had written me “We need to have the phone line for community calls operational for the weekend in case there is an emergency…” Today, two years later, the service still consists of nothing but the test message that the Faire Service Co-ordinator recorded on it at the beginning of December 2005. So much for “high priority“.

Notice to readers: If you’re outside the United Kingdom, please don’t waste your money ringing the above telephone number, just take my word for it.

But perhaps I’m being overly critical here. Time does fly and two years is not really all that long in terms of eternity. It is possible even that my managers have forgotten the number and established the service on another line. No; they wouldn’t waste public money like that, would they? They would surely terminate the other line first. Or perhaps there has been no “adverse” weather in the Outer Hebrides in the last two years. No schools closed, no need to close the Braighe or any of the Uist causeways. No flooded roads, neither snow nor ice and therefore no need to grit the roads. Goodness me! the Comhairle must have saved a fortune with all this fine weather. We can doubtless look forward to a substantial reduction in our Council Tax in the next financial year.

But – No! surely not, how could I even entertain the thought? I must banish it immediately. Of course they’re neither incompetent nor stupid!


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