Axed Argyll and Bute Council engineer to the rescue in floods

The heroine of a storm that trapped tourists and their cars was a roads engineer recently axed from her post in a council cost-cutting exercise.

Now islanders on Mull are calling on Argyll and Bute Council to reinstate Kaz Bailey in her old post, saying her actions after flash floods and landslides has proved the need for a resident engineer.

Holidaymakers were evacuated by boat when road bridges were washed away on the B8035, between Salen and Pennyghael on Thursday night.

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And police made an emergency call for help to the former roads engineer.

Ms Bailey, currently on trial for a demoted assistant’s post with the council, while the lead decision-making element of her old job has been transferred to an Islay-based officer, went to the rescue.

Red Cross worker John Clayton, of Killiemor, Mull, was also hailed as a hero because he drove supplies to a family of nine, stranded in their home at Ben More.

He said: “It was scary, you could hear the roar of the water, but you didn’t know what was happening. But The real star of the show was Kaz, our redundant roads engineer, who came out and worked solid.”

Ms Bailey went straight into action after receiving a call from the police at 9pm on Thursday. She led the Mull roads team on site to divert water away from the collapsed bridges, to allow a temporary road surface to be laid, so the trapped vehicles could be moved on Friday night.

Ms Bailey, 48, whose salary has been reduced by £4,000 in her new “non-decision-making” post, said: “I went into auto­pilot mode when the sergeant phoned me, and obviously responded in the same manner that I would have done prior to my post being made redundant, I care about Mull and its people.”

Yesterday a campaign was growing as islanders demanded that Ms Clayton be reinstated in her old role.

Mull councillors Mary Jean Devon and Alistair MacDougall, and community council chairman Steve Willis united to
call for Ms Bailey’s post to be
reinstated.