Mearns Independent Councillor Dave Stewart has explained why he gave an emphatic no to requests to join the Conservative, Lib-Dem, Independent Alliance which, at the time of writing, was poised to take control of Aberdeenshire Council.
Dave said: “I was approached by members of the Independent Group of councillors wanting me to join them in the Administration.
“They approached me and I had a meeting with them and they suggested I would be better in than out.
“I gave the matter some thought, but considered how this would sit with the statement I made in my election leaflet that, if elected, I would be a totally independent voice on behalf of the people of the Mearns.
“I felt I could not join with any party or parties to form an Administration.
“I also feel that the party that has the most councillors should form the Administration.
“I could not connect myself with anybody after stating clearly in my election leaflet that I would be an independent voice.
“I intend to remain that way. There is no point in saying something then changing your mind five minutes later.
“Before the election I never promised anything other than to be a voice for the people. When I consider something is wrong I will stand up and say it.
“If someone puts something forward that is good for the Mearns area I will support them.
“I will judge every issue on its merits. If something will help the Mearns I will vote for it.”
Councillor Stewart says that in the final analysis it hardly matters who is in power at Aberdeenshire Council level.
“Seventy five per cent of our budget goes on education and social work. That is laid down by the Government. There is not a lot of spending over which councillors actually have a say.”
The first meeting of the new Aberdeenshire Council takes place today (Thursday) at which the Alliance is expected to take control of the various committees and also put forward its nomination to serve as Provost.
Councillor Stewart is now part of what is seen as a grouping of five “non-aligned” councillors. The others are another Independent, Paul Johnston, Labour members Alison Evison (Stonehaven) and Raymond Christie (North Kincardine) and the Green Martin Ford.