A provost works as a taxi driver for a group that has made millions of pounds on the council he represents.
Councilor Alan Brown has been appointed provost of East Dunbartonshire Council in 2017 – since then his taxi business has had over Â£ 3million in consultancy contracts.
The Tory The advisor is one of the approximately 20 drivers of the East Dunbartonshire Taxi Operator and Drivers Association (EDTODA).
The cab partnership was set up to handle consulting contracts only and members of the public cannot contact them.
The Sunday Mail can reveal that since 2017 – when Brown was appointed provost – EDTODA has seen its annual share of consultancy contracts increase by 50%.
Last year the company won Â£ 712,000 of the council’s Â£ 3million taxi contracts.
In 2016-17, his awards stood at Â£ 457,000, an increase of over Â£ 250,000 over the past five years.
13 other companies share the remainder of the consulting fees.
Councilor Brown denied any wrongdoing and said the contracts were negotiated without his help.
But sources say taxi companies that missed the lucrative job are unhappy.
An insider said: âYou see Councilor Brown going in and out of special schools and dropping off kids.
âEDTODA is made up of black cab drivers who sat in the row in Bishopbriggs at all hours.
âNow they are working much better hours for the board.
âConsulting work is a huge amount of money and very attractive to other drivers who usually have to work around the clock.
âEDTODA drivers didn’t have the money worries that other taxi drivers had during the lockdown.
âEven when some drivers gave up because of financial problems, the contracts kept running for them. “
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SNP advisor from Milngavie in East Dunbartonshire, Jim Gibbons, said: âThe awarding of contracts is very thorough with the board awarding the best company to do the job.
“However, the magnitude of the awards given to EDTODA and the magnitude of the increase are surprising.”
Covid has hit the taxi industry hard with the resignation of many of Scotland’s 37,000 taxi drivers.
In 2020, union officials claimed some black taxi drivers were working 12 hours a day for just Â£ 40.
The Unite union has called for every taxi driver to receive a grant of Â£ 10,000 because of Covid.
Councilor Brown, who is paid Â£ 27,000 a year as the town chief of East Dunbartonshire City Council, said: ‘There are 20 drivers who work for EDTODA.
âThe contracts relate to the transport of adults and children with special needs.
âThe increase is just a coincidence as far as I’m concerned. I don’t even see the papers.
âWhen I work as a city councilor at meetings and the taxi industry is brought up in official business, I have to leave the room.
âThe lowest price offered gets the contract and I’m not involved in that.
âI’m not taking anything to do with it on purpose. I don’t get money from the board, EDTODA gets money from the board and they pay me.
âThe board changed the rules two or three years ago, which meant that only licensed taxi drivers and companies could get contracts and that’s why our work increased.
“This was decided for reasons of public safety.”
The council said the contracts covered transporting vulnerable adults and children for its education and social protection services.
Council Deputy CEO Ann Davie said: “The contract with EDTODA was entered into in the same way as the other taxi contracts, following a procurement process.”
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