Thursday, August 27, 2009

SNP Councillor James Dornan hits the comeback trail joining the GHA Board

Dear All

After stepping down as the candidate for Glasgow North East, SNP Councillor James Dornan has bounced back by joining the board of the Glasgow Housing Association.

James Dornan withdrew from that by-election after concerns about his previous financial issues led to a possible breach of the Charity Law.

The GHA has had a very trouble existence and the appointment of Mr. Dornan is part of enforced changes to try and put the association back on track.

The dramatic changes come about as Scotland’s housing watchdog has decided to get tough with the failing business.

As well as Mr. Dornan’s appointment, Glasgow Labour councillor Phil Braat deputy convener of the economy committee will fill another seat on the board. Councillor Braat is close to Steven Purcell who leads the administration of Glasgow City Council.

The new board members will have a difficult task ahead as the GHA has a history of failure to deliver, particularly in second stage transfer.

Months of turmoil at the GHA has led to executives and senior board members jumping ship as the housing watchdog brought forward a review after a damning report into its activities.

The next meeting of the board should be a lively affair as a series of motions are to be tabled including question about what exactly the outgoing Chief Executive will receive financially.

Mr Dornan's nomination is somewhat of a shock within the Glasgow political village but what should be remembered is that although Mr. Dornan had difficulties in the past; he worked his way through and got back on an even keel.

Mr Dornan in relation to his appointment said;

"It's important I take this position as we need to move on with GHA and with the changes to the board there can be a fresh start and we can begin fulfilling the reasons why GHA was set up in the first place. It's also crucial that we get a good relationship going between GHA and the city council and hopefully this will be the start of it."

Not all people however are happy with the appointment of Mr. Dornan; Housing campaigner Sean Clerkin said;

"This is a bad appointment”.

I think that if Mr. Clerkin would look at Councillor James Dornan’s record rather than the personal financial difficulties he got into then he might change his mind. What happened to James Dornan is no different to what has happened to thousands of others in troubled economic times.

He added;

"How can a man who cannot control his own personal financial affairs be put in charge of a large-scale multimillion-pound operation like GHA?"

Well to answer that question; I would say, yes, James Dornan had problems in the past but rather than walk away; he took measures to get himself financially stable and back on track.

He therefore has gained through adversity experiences and knowledge that will come in useful.

I think SNP Councillor James Dornan will do a good job as he is a person willing to listen and more importantly willing to act.

Sean Clerkin should give him a chance to prove himself; James Dornan like everyone else should be given the opportunity to stand or fall on his own merits.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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