Anger over library spending

PUBLISHED: 05:00 07 September 2006 | UPDATED: 09:49 24 May 2010

COUNCILLORS are shocked over revelations that officers made decisions to spend extra money on Yatton library without their approval. North Somerset Council originally said building work on the library and community centre in the High Street would cost £33

COUNCILLORS are shocked over revelations that officers made decisions to spend extra money on Yatton library without their approval.North Somerset Council originally said building work on the library and community centre in the High Street would cost £334,000, but the bill rose to £583,000.It has been revealed extra cash was allocated to the scheme by council officers before the official approval of councillors.Cllr Mike Roe said: "Councillors were only given the chance to approve the changes after the officers had started spending the money. This is clearly against council rules."There is no excuse for this and it is a clear example of how officers are assuming councillors will just fall into line and already committing money they have no right to. By the time the information is getting to councillors it is too late for them to reverse the decision."Cllr Roe has referred the incident to the external auditors and says disciplinary action may be taken after an investigation.Cllr Roe said: "Unless we are prepared to take disciplinary action we can't complain that officers carry on doing what they are doing."We need to let officers know who is running the council."A North Somerset Council spokesman said: "Our contract standing orders do enable project managers to authorise variation orders where the circumstances require it, even if it brings a project over the allocated budget, and for that to be reported subsequently to the executive.

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