Hollywood star Butler's brother quits top council post amid 'financial fall guy' claims
THE brother of Hollywood A-list star Gerard Butler has quit one of Scottish local government's top posts amid claims he has been made a financial fall guy.
Brian Butler quit his role as Glasgow City Council's head of cleansing and commercial services with immediate effect following a turbulent few years tasked with generating the authority millions of pounds.
He was given the near six-figure job over three years ago with a remit of off-setting the cash his department was losing through budget cuts and demand pressures.
It is understood the post led to high-level clashes with other senior managers within Land and Environmental Services, with Mr Butler taking time off on long-term sick leave earlier this year.
Sources though have claimed the post was "destined to fail" as expectations were so big and the challenge from private sector competitors too great.
It has also been claimed Mr Butler lacked the political backing to make policies with potential public backlash, such attracting commercial operators to the city's parks, a reality.
One source said: "He had been told to make money from the flowers grown in the showpiece parks. It's little more than a village industry with a handful of staff supplying weddings and the like.
"What Butler has been tasked with amounted to a few park guys taking on all of Holland's flower industry."
Mr Butler, a married father-of-two who lives in Edinburgh, joined the council after a career in parking and transport, first with Edinburgh City Council and then as business development manager with NCP Ltd.
Brought in to much anticipation and dwindling budgets, his main task had been to generate cash through a number of areas, including commercial waste, attracting business to parks and leasing council-owned properties.
Insiders claim Mr Butler, whose family connections were also well-known within the city council, was frustrated with the limitations of the post and when financial targets set by his bosses were not met he was being held responsible.
He also confronted mobilised local communities in his quest to find commercial uses for municipal parks, most notably atVictoria Park in the west end where he faced opposition from, amongst others, a football club run by the brother of former Manchester United boss David Moyes.
One prominent figure within the LES department said: "The guy was hung out from day one by being heralded as the saviour of the department, bringing in revenue and averting future cuts.
"When you're the 'change guy' and the only commercial thing your department does is sell bin bags to corner shops you're not going to deliver the millions expected."
Another said: "Brian believed you could get big garden centres into the parks and then found out, as we've all known, the best you can get is low-key stuff like a cafe.
"The post was destined to fail. He got no political backing and carries the can for others' ideas and expectations."
Susan Aitken, leader of the opposition SNP group, said: "Glasgow has some of the best parks in the world but for years the Labour (administration) has made a pig's ear of fulfilling their potential. We have now seen three years of wasted opportunity with the only people gaining out of it being property consultants. It's doubtful Labour has managed to raise an extra £300 in that time, never mind what was predicted."
The Herald attempted to contact Mr Butler but he was unavailable.
A spokesman said:“Brian Butler, head of cleansing and commercial services, has decided to leave Glasgow City Council, on 10 September 2015, in order to pursue other opportunities.”