Council boss has answer to homeless problem - the Kalashnikov

A SENIOR council manager in charge of getting homeless people off the city's streets is under investigation after apparently suggesting a problem case should be taken to Belarus and shot.

The comments by David Smith, a principal officer of temporary accommodation at the city council, came in an e-mail sent from his address to three senior figures in his department about a humanitarian scheme in Belarus for homeless people.

It was then forwarded on, apparently accidentally, to more than 70 staff in the department.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Council bosses have launched an investigation, although Mr Smith is not yet thought to have been suspended.

The message was sent with an e-mail on the Stand International scheme, which will see 20 young homeless volunteers and eight team leaders from Scotland take part in a humanitarian project.

In the e-mail, sent on 20 August, Mr Smith told three of his superiors that homeless client William Godsell, 54, could "lie about his age and take up this wonderful opportunity" in Belarus.

"The good folk of Belarus might embrace him to their collectivised bosoms or maybe just employ a solution to Mr Godsell's homelessness via Mr Kalashnikov's tried and trusted method of dealing with 'issues'," he wrote.

Among those to be sent the e-mail was a senior housing officer, who is understood to have forwarded the message to 71 staff. Though the original e-mail came from Mr Smith's account it has not been officially confirmed that he was the author.

Councillor Andrew Burns, the leader of the Labour group on the city council, said: "I won't comment on this specific case as I don't have all the details and an investigation is ongoing, but there is a code of conduct for e-mails and all members have to abide by it."

Sources within the homelessness department say they were concerned Mr Smith had not been treated in the same way as other staff who have been suspended over e-mails.

One member of staff who contacted the Evening News said: "At present, there are members of staff at Chesser House suspended for inappropriate use of e-mail. How can this be any different?

"I'm ashamed to think that he is our leader. It is a disgusting way for someone in that position to act."

Mr Godsell could not be contacted for comment.