Appointment of Lochaber committee chairman is a ‘kick in the teeth’, adviser says

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A Lochaber councilor criticized the appointment of a Greens member as the new chairman of the Lochaber area committee as a “kick in the teeth” for local democracy.

Councilor Angus MacDonald, a LibDem representative from the four-member ward of Fort William and Ardnamurchan at Highland Council, commented after it was confirmed that fellow ward member Councilor Kate Willis of the Scottish Greens had was named president of the regional committee last week. .

Mr MacDonald had previously expressed his belief that the leading candidate in the local authority elections in May for the two Lochaber wards should have automatically been the choice to lead the area committee.

The participation rate in the local elections was 45%. Mr MacDonald, of Roshven, received 1,500 of the 4,056 votes cast and was elected at the first stage of the count.

Asked about his reaction to Councilor Willis’ appointment, Mr MacDonald told the Lochaber Times this week: ‘I don’t agree with that, actually.’ It may be politics, but I believe councilors should vote best for Lochaber and not because of their political affiliations.

Mr MacDonald added: ‘This is a real kick in the teeth for local democracy – what the people of Lochaber voted for was not made possible by the SNP coalition.’

“I was very keen for the candidates for the position of regional president to present their case to other councilors, but the time was not right for that.

‘Apparently the two Greens, the SNP and the independent adviser had already made up their minds, perhaps influenced by the leaders of Inverness council.’

After chairing last week’s Area Committee meeting, Councilor Willis thanked the other members for their support.

Councilor John Grafton, a LibDem member who is one of three councilors representing Ward 11 (Caol and Mallaig) was named Vice President.

Councilor Willis said she looked forward to chairing the area committee and helping serve the people of Lochaber.

Local environmental campaigner, marine scientist, deputy chair of the council’s climate committee and now chair of the Lochaber area committee, Dr Kate Willis.

“We are focused on collaboration and continuing the good work of previous advisers. We will work with our local communities to ensure the voice of Lochaber is represented on Highland Council issues,” she added.

“There are many challenges ahead and we will do all we can to build a just and sustainable future that will benefit everyone and help Lochaber’s communities and environment thrive and thrive.”

LEGEND:

LibDem councilor Angus MacDonald is unhappy with the way the new chairman of the Lochaber area committee was chosen. NO-F17-Angus-MacDonald

Additional picture:

Local environmental campaigner, marine scientist, deputy chair of the council’s climate committee and now chair of the Lochaber area committee, Dr Kate Willis.

NO F44 Kate Willis

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