Coun­cil­lor dis­misses SNP crit­i­cism over new role

The Oban Times - - News - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­

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.

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