THERE was a spirit of co-operation for the good of the county and people of Angus, when the new line-up of councillors met last Tuesday at the Town and County Hall, Forfar to elect office-bearers and committee members.
The new leader of the administration, Councillor Iain Gaul, Kirriemuir and Dean, repeatedly used the expression ‘hand of friendship’ and this spirit was accepted by members who are not part of the administration.
He emphasised his open door policy, quite literally, that his office door is open to all.
The ruling SNP group, with 15 members, has a majority of one. The remainder of the 29-strong council comprises eight independents, four Conservatives, one Labour and one Lib Dem member.
Carnoustie Councillor Helen Oswald was unanimously elected Provost of Angus, with Councillor Alex King, Arbroath West and Letham, her depute.
Provost Oswald thanked everyone for the trust that had been placed in her, and promised to work hard for all the people in Angus.
She continued: “I hope my term is marked by fairness and good debate. The administration will work for the good of all the residents. If any of the new members need help, please ask. There will be interesting times ahead.”
Provost Oswald then thanked her husband, daughter and son-in-law, whose support and advice she described as “invaluable”.
The leader of the administration for the past five years, Councillor Bob Myles, said that the onerous duties of the Provost’s office had been carried out with great aplomb by her predecessors, Mrs Ruth Leslie Melville, Bill Middleton, Frances Duncan, etc., and he wished her well in her work for the county of Angus.
He also noted and accepted the offer of the hand of friendship from the administration.
Councillor David May, Montrose and District, a member of the previous administration, echoed Councillor Myles’ comments, and added that he hoped grandstand politicking would be a thing of the past. However, he added: “The new administration will be held to account.”
New conveners and vice-conveners were elected to the council committees as follows: Strategic Policy - convener, Iain Gaul; vice-convener, Paul Valentine; Corporate Services - Alex King, Bill Duff; Infrastructure Services - Mairi Evans, Sheila Hands; Neighbourhood Services - Donald Morrison, Jeanette Gaul; Education - Sheena Walsh, Ewan Smith; Social Work and Health - Glennis Middleton, Jim Houston; Development Standards - Rob Murray, Lynne Devine; Civic Licensing and Licensing Board - Alex King, Sheila Hands.
Councillor Rob Murray was nominated as the next president of COSLA, the association of Scottish local authoritie.
One of the new members, Ronnie Proctor, Kirriemuir and Dean, is arguably the most famous through his connection with The Black Watch and its museum and archive at Balhousie Castle, Perth. He was given the role of Veterans’ Champion.