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John Richards - Kirkwall West & Orphir
I came to Orkney, with my family, in 1991 to take up the post of Housing Manager with the Council, having spent the previous 10 years as a senior Housing Officer with an inner city English local authority.
I hold professional qualifications in Housing and Management and a minor qualification in Land Use Planning.
Prior to becoming a public servant I had a chequered career working as a journalist, a student in Israel, milkman, bookie and newsagent.
Housing has been a passion for me in my career and I believe, with the exception of health and food, there are few things more important than having a decent home to live in.
I retired as Assistant Director of Housing at the end of 2011 but my wife and I have no intentions of leaving Orkney. This is our home and we have made good friends here.
I am a keen quizzer, specialising in talking my colleagues in the Orkney Club team out of the correct answer in the Quiz League, and have been known to host Weakest Link and Horse and Dog Racing Nights to raise money for various causes.
I am known for having a reasonable sense of humour and am a passionate supporter of West Bromwich Albion football club, these two things being closely connected.
Other interests include gardening, stamp collecting and, occasionaly, I host the weekly request programme on Radio Orkney top
Sustaining and Growing Orkney
Our five year-old grandson stays in Thurso but loves coming to Orkney to visit Jungle World at the Picky Centre, or the Cinema or the Skate Park. He doesn't have any of these things in his own town.
I am aware of the excellent facilities we have all of which have come about as a result of hard work and individual and collective determination. They include:
Excellent community schools
but Orkney must not stand still and we must not be complacent, much remains to be achieved. There are still many people here who are living in poor housing condtions and many are struggling with debt.
The spectre of unemploymnet is never far away as can be seen from recent high profile business closures.
The Council and people throughout Orkney have benefited from the revenue from oil money but this is a finite resource.
We need to maximise the opportunities presented by the renewable energy agenda to ensure our young people have access to employment opportunities, both for those who go away to study but want to come home to work and for those who choose to stay here after leaving school.
I believe the Council and bodies like NHS Orkney have a huge responsibility in offering training and employment to the future generations. top
What I stand for
I believe it is for the Councillors, as elected members, to provide the vision and direction and it is for the officials to get us there, never the other way round.
The Council has sought to improve how it communicates with its citizens but it is far from perfect and this aspect must be addressed as a matter of urgency. Honesty, openness and fair-handedness have to be its watchwords, in both word and deed.
The Council manages very significant resources on our behalf but these belong to the people of Orkney and the people have a right to express their opinion on how they are to be spent, whether it is protecting existing services or investing in the future, or a combination of both.
The Council staff is a precious resource which exists to serve our needs. They are all members of this community who pay their taxes and have a right to be heard. They should never be silenced but encouraged, along with every other citizen, to voice their opinion.
School Place is a secure building containing much confidential information but surely it can be less secretive. Why not host an open weekend and let the public in to see what happens there. Many went to school there and would no doubt like to see how the services are accommodated.
Why not hold Council meetings in the parishes and the isles sometimes so that people can see democracy in action. Why not use the new technologies to webcast live Council and committee meetings. Other Councils do.
This is your Council. It exists to serve you.
If you have any questions or concerns then please feel free to contact me.
My home telephone number is 01856 87 2028 and my e-mail address is Jjohntr@aol.com
I stay at 8 Main Street, Kirkwall and you can always write to me there. top