Dundee City Council has been blasted over the “outdated and secretive” way it does business.
The claim was made by a senior member of the administration, Jimmy Black, as he revealed he was stepping down after a decade as a councillor.
In an exclusive interview with the Tele — his first since announcing his departure — the Coldside councillor said the “antiquated” way in which the local authority conducts its business needs to change.
He said: “I’m very disappointed in the level of secrecy at the council, particularly the secrecy there was over the proposals for the V&A.
“It is one of my major disappointments that I haven’t been able to make more inroads into changing the outdated and secretive way the council does business.
“Right up until just before the official announcement that the V&A was going ahead, none of the councillors were aware that the project was £40 million over budget.
“That must never be allowed to happen again.
“We need much more transparency and clarity.”
Mr Black called for more openness at the local authority with members of the public able to watch their councillors in action.
He said: “I am sure that if council meetings were broadcast, either online with video or even just audio, that it would make a difference.
“I am pretty sure that if the voting public could see for themselves their councillors at work in the chamber they wouldn’t vote for them again.”
Mr Black has spent 10 years representing the Coldside ward.
He was a key player in the Fairness Commission, which looked at ways to tackle poverty and deprivation.
During his time on the council, Mr Black has held a number of senior posts, including those of housing convener and depute convener of development management.
He was also the last convener of Tayside Joint Police Board.
But the councillor revealed that he also has regrets.
He said: “I regret that as an administration we did not support keeping the police force in Scotland more the way it had been before.
“We wanted to see four forces across Scotland but it obviously never happened.
“However, I think there has been a change recently.
“I’m pleased to see that community policing appears to be back on the agenda.”
Among Mr Black’s career highlights was leading the way in saving hundreds of council houses in the city from demolition, ensuring homes for thousands of Dundonians.
He added: “I am also proud that I was the one who persuaded council officers not to evict people who could not afford to pay for their homes.
“I’m really pleased my colleagues on the council supported me in what was a very difficult debate.
“Our motion in Dundee was the first in Scotland to influence the Scottish Government to assist people with the bedroom tax.”
A Dundee City Council spokesman said: “A thorough and rigorous review of the background to the construction project for the V&A Museum of Design Dundee by independent procurement expert John McClelland was commissioned on behalf of the council so that lessons may be learned for future projects.
“Recommendations from this review were approved by the policy and resources committee at a public meeting in August 2015.”