Bute councillor sceptical after vote on authority’s future

Bute independent councillor Len Scoullar says he’s not hopeful of an end to the power games and internal squabbling that have bedevilled Argyll and Bute Council in recent months.

Cllr Scoullar was speaking to The Buteman after a motion in the council chamber on Thursday, proposing the abolition of all the authority’s senior posts pending a review of the council’s political management arrangements over the summer, was defeated.

Instead an SNP amendment, supported by Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors, keeping all the holders of senior posts in place and setting up a working group of 12 elected members which, in the words of a news release from the authority’s media office, “will reflect the council’s current political make-up”, carried the day by 17 votes to 14.

Cllr Scoullar voted for the original motion, put forward by the independent members of the council, while the other Bute councillor in the chamber, the SNP’s Robert Macintyre, abstained.

Cllr Scoullar told The Buteman: “I was disappointed the SNP leadership did not support the motion we put forward, and while I will await the outcome of this working group’s deliberations with interest, I don’t see it as a positive way forward for the people of Argyll and Bute - especially as an administration which now has no authority is still collecting extra money for the positions of special responsibility which they hold.”

Following Thursday’s vote council leader Roddy McCuish saidL: “It is clear that we need to find a new way forward so that we can best serve the people of Argyll and Bute.

“That is what we are elected to do, and that is why it is so important that we agree on effective political management arrangements and structures.

“Ensuring that all councillors are able to participate fully in all aspects of council business has always been a key priority.

“For this reason, colleagues across the council, from all types of political backgrounds, will become part of this short life working group which will look at new and better ways of doing things.

“They will then take ideas forward for all elected members to consider when they next meet in a few weeks’ time.”