East Renfrewshire Council met this week for the first time since the election and have managed to thrash out who will take the top jobs and committee convenor posts.
The decisions however, have not been met with undiluted praise, with Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw saying: “This unholy stitch up sees failure rewarded with ‘baubles of office’ and the additional salaries and privileges which come with them.
“East Renfrewshire voted 2 - 1 for the Scottish Conservatives over Labour, we beat the SNP by nearly seven thousand votes and we are the biggest party with councillors willing and able to form an administration.
“The change of direction residents voted for has been ignored by a feather-bedding clique protecting their own vested interests ahead of those of local residents.”
The new administration will be led by the SNP’s Tony Buchanan with Councillor Paul O’Kane taking up the role of deputy leader.
Cllr O’Kane responded to Jackson Carlaw’s comments saying: “No party won an overall majority on May 4 and the Council Administration has always been formed on a partnership basis since the establishment of the Council in 1996. It falls to the councillors elected to form a stable administration for the next five years.
“Over the past five years the Administration has had clear policy disagreements with the Conservative group most notably in terms of how we fund services and invest for the future and as such the Conservatives could not reach agreement with any other party to run the Council.
“The Administration parties and Cllr Devlin received 18,799 first preference votes on 4th May compared to the Conservatives 15,588 - leading us to respond to the election result of ‘no overall control’ with this partnership Administration.
“Over the next five years we will continue to ensure that East Renfrewshire goes from strength to strength - working in partnership with local people.”
Former leader, Councillor Jim Fletcher has been appointed Provost and will be supported by Deputy Provost Councillor Betty Cunningham.
A number of other appointments were also made at the first meeting of the new Council last night as follows: Councillor Paul O’Kane has been appointed Education and Equalities Convener, Councillor Caroline Bamforth has been appointed Social Work and Health convener, Councillor Alan Lafferty has been appointed Environment Convener, Councillor Danny Devlin has been appointed Housing and Maintenance Services Convener, Councillor Colm Merrick has been appointed Convener for Community Services and Community Safety, Councillor Stewart Miller has been appointed Chair of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee , Councillor Anette Ireland has been appointed Planning Applications Committee Chair, Councillor Angela Convery has been appointed Licensing Committee Chair and Councillor Colm Merrick has been appointed Chair of Cabinet (fire & police).
All the cabinet details can be found at: http://www.eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=20256&p=0