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Aberdeen crisis heard in public

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Embattled Aberdeen City Council is waiting for auditors’ conclusions on its financial crisis after Scotland’s Accounts Commission visited the city for two days of public hearings.

The commission took the unusual step after an audit found poor morale among staff, resistance to change and that£27m of cuts were needed as a result of serious budgetary problems.

A later report found the council had lost£5m because buildings were sold too cheaply, leading auditors to raise “questions about the competency of some officers” (LGC, 8 May).

Last week, chief executive Douglas Paterson announced he would take early retirement.

Giving evidence alongside Mr Paterson were corporate director of resources Gordon Edwards, council leader Katharine Dean (Lib Dem) and the leaders of the Conservative and Labour groups.

The hearing also took evidence from local trade unions and voluntary sector groups.

Auditor Cathie Wylie told the hearing that the council faced a “precarious” financial future.

The commission is now considering the evidence and hopes to issue conclusions “within a couple of months”, a spokeswoman said.

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