New administration takes over Aberdeenshire Council

A new administration took charge of Aberdeenshire Council for the first time on Thursday.

Conservative Jim Gifford (Mid Formartine) is the new leader of the council after his party joined forces with the Liberal Democrats and nine Independent members. Lib Dem group leader Martin Kitts-Hayes (Inverurie & District) has taken over as Aberdeenshire Council’s deputy leader.

The Aberdeenshire Alliance group came together after the Conservatives and Liberals cited internal divisions among the SNP, the largest party, and possible personality clashes as reasons why they could not form coalitions.

Conservative councillor Jill Webster has been elected as the first female Lord Provost of Aberdeenshire.

Councillors backed Mrs Webster 36 votes to 31 against SNP candidate Hamish Vernal.

Mrs Webster replaces Mearns councillor Bill Howatson who did not wish to be considered for re-election to the post.

She admitted she may turn to outgoing provost Mr Howatson for advice as she steps into the post.

“Bill will certainly be a hard act to follow, he was a great provost. He was very dedicated and hard working and visited everywhere as I intend to do so no doubt I will be having a chat with Bill – he was great and tinged it with a great sense of humour as well,” she said.

Central Buchan independent councillor Norman Smith was voted 36-31 as deputy provost against the SNP’s Sandy Duncan who serves Turriff and District.

The first meeting of Aberdeenshire Council since the local government elections saw all the chairs and vice-chairs for the authority’s committees appointed.

Policy and Resources: Chairman: Jim Gifford Vice-Chairman: Martin Kitts-Hayes

Infrastructure Services: Chairman: Peter Argyle Vice-Chairman: Alan Buchan

Education, Learning and Leisure: Chairwoman: Isobel Davidson Vice-Chairman: Ron McKail

Social Work and Housing: Chairwoman: Karen Clark Vice-Chairwoman: Alisan Norrie

Scrutiny and Audit: Chairwoman: Gillian Owen Vice-Chairman: Richard Thomson

Appointments Committee: Chairman: Jim Gifford Vice-Chairman: Kitts- Hayes

Appeals Committee: Chairman: Alastair Ross

Licensing: Sub-committee to appoint

Industrial Cases: Chairman: Alan Buchan

Procedures Committee: Chairman: Provost Webster

Appointments of chairs and vice-chairs of Aberdeenshire Council’s six area committees will be made at the first meeting of each committee of the new term.