Councillor dismisses SNP criticism over new role
A NEWLY-ELECTED Oban councillor has dismissed claims he does not have ‘enough experience’ to take on a senior council role, saying criticism from the SNP group was ‘unhelpful’.
Independent councillor Kieron Green was elected in June. At his first council meeting, last Thursday, he was nominated as spokesman for the council’s health and social care integration.
A former trade union representative, Mr Green said he was ‘delighted’ to be nominated, adding that the appointment was ‘ unexpected’, but that he was experienced.
He said: ‘I am on the health and social care forum, I was the chairman of the community planning partnership in Elgin, I was on the community council in Oban for two years and acted as secretary for one year.
‘I am not going in blind. Over the next two months I am having a hand- over with Maurice Corry [the spokesman who is standing down], and I will also be meeting with other board members and management.
‘I have Councillors Mary-Jean Devon and Elaine Roberston to look to if required.’
Mr Green continued: ‘It is not unprecedented to have been elected and then take on a policy lead. Mike Breslin, for example, was nominated after winning his first election. It really depends on what people are bringing to the job.
‘It is unfortunate the SNP need to put out a press release. I will be working with Anne Horn [who is quoted in the press release]. It is quite unhelpful for her to criticise me when we are working together so closely in the future.’
A spokesperson for the SNP Group stated: ‘ We believe that health and social care integration requires careful and successful management in order to bring an improved service to the people of Argyll and Bute.
‘The transition period of bringing together two organisations with very different cultures and systems requires an experienced person at the head.
‘However capable Councillor Green may be, this is a hugely challenging role for a newly- elected councillor.
‘The decision is neither fair to councillor Green or to the Inte- grated Joint Board. It also gives rise to the question of whether they are actually serious about making it a success.’
SNP shadow spokeswoman for health and social care, Councillor Anne Horn said: ‘It is disappointing that the administration ... vote[d] for someone with unknown experience in either social care or the NHS, at a time when the board needs strong experienced leadership to guide it through the difficult decisions that require to be made with compassion and understanding.’
The opposition group voted for Councillor Dougie Philand, an NHS senior health practitioner to take on the role. They were defeated in a vote at last Thursday’s Argyll and Bute Council meeting by 13 votes to 20.
Councillor Kieron Green.