The Carlow Local Authorities Review Report on Corporate Governance Issues has been published and the full document (40 pages) may be viewed at: http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/1118/reviewreport.pdf
A synopsis by the Irish Independent may be viewed at:http://www.independent.ie/national-news/raft-of-council-failures-exposed-2425507.html
Here are two extracts that I found particularly 'irregular' although it must be stressed that there was no evidence of 'wrongdoing'.DEVELOPMENT PLAN
“Planning staff engaged for the purpose of processing the planning system, including preparing development plans, were employed by the Councils during the decade
and were not engaged in the preparation or review of development plans. It was surprising that the preparation of the plans was permitted by management
to be carried out by an official who was Director of Planning during this period, it was an unfair burden.
It has been submitted to me that considerable savings, which have not been quantified, accrued to the Councils by the method of the plan preparation and review.
That may be so but would not find favour with me, particularly when there were staff employed for the task or Planning Consultants could have been engaged for the purpose.
I would be more concerned about the transparency, impartiality and objectivity associated with the preparation of development plans when managing their implementation would arise.
I compliment the enthusiasm of the official for undertaking the extra duty but it was an unacceptable practice.
It undermined staff and placed the individual in an exposed position of being ‘judge and jury’ of one’s own work.PRE-PLANNING MEETINGS
“I was surprised to be advised that planning staff were not frequently invited to pre-planning discussions and only became aware that such discussions had taken place when planning applications were submitted.
I understand that the Director of Service for the planning function conducted pre-planning consultations unaccompanied.
The latter practice was unacceptable as was the omission of personnel from such meetings. I was also concerned at the scant notes on files as a result of pre-planning discussions, in many cases there were none.
This did not comply with the legislation in relation to pre-planning consultations and was not in the best interest of the planning service provided by the Councils.