Councillors decide who will do what in the new council line-up

NOW that the political alliances have been forged following the council elections earlier in the month the new line-up of Scottish Borders councillors meet today, Thursday, May 24, to divvy up the various roles and responsibilities.

The nine SNP councillors dominate the executive but needed to join forces with the six liberal democrats, independent councillors and the two Borders Party representatives in order to gain an overall ruling majority, and now the executive line-up has been established the eleven members of the executive need to be formally appointed. They will have responsibility for: community planning; community safety; culture, sports and community learning; economic development; education; environmental services; human resources and corporate improvement; planning and environment; roads and infrastructure; social work; health service (NHS Borders).

When councillors met last week a number of appointments were made: convenor - Councillor Graham Garvie; vice convenor - Councillor Jim Brown; leader of the council - Councillor David Parker; depute leader - Councillor John Mitchell; chairman of Scrutiny - Councillor Gavin Logan; vice chairman of Scrutiny - Councillor Jim Torrance; chairman of standards - Councillor Alec Nicol; chairman of planning and building standards committee - Councillor Ron Smith; and vice chairman of planning and building standards committee - Councillor Nicholas Watson.

There are also numerous local bodies, panels and sub-groups that require representation by Scottish Borders Council and again these will be decided today.

The different political groups are also sorting themselves out and earlier this week the Scottish Borders Liberal Democrats unanimously elected Councillor Catriona Bhatia (Tweeddale West) as leader and Councillor Vicky Davidson (Selkirkshire) as deputy leader of the council group.

Catriona Bhatia said: “I am honoured to have been chosen by my fellow councillors as their leader, and would like to pay tribute to my predecessor Alec Nicol, who has been an outstanding leader of the group for the past decade, and will be a very hard act to follow.

“The formation of a new Administration last week gives the Borders a fresh start, and I am confident we will see a level of respect and co-operation between the coalition partners which has not been seen before. Most importantly Liberal Democrat policies are at the heart of the Administration’s new programme of work. Vicky and I will be working with colleagues to ensure that we deliver important changes in the years ahead.”

Vicky Davidson added: “There are many Liberal thinkers and supporters in the Borders, and we hope to be able to represent their views and aspirations at the council over the coming years, whilst ensuring that we serve all people of the Borders by working to stimulate the local economy and create jobs in a difficult financial climate.”

And wishing them well, former leader Alec Nicol said: “Catriona Bhatia and Vicky Davidson are experienced councillors who bring a high level of energy and commitment, and a record of success, which will benefit the people of the Borders.”