Councillor Cree – rejected move to reduce number of councillors.
The convener of Moray Council has blocked a plan that it is claimed would have saved the local authority a ‘significant sum of money’ by reducing the number of councillors serving the region.
At a full meeting of the local authority this morning Scottish Government plans to change ward boundaries and, in some cases, reduce the number of councillors was discussed.
Councillors were asked to respond to proposals being considered for widespread changes to the local authority structure in Scotland, including a formula that could see the number of councillors in Moray from the current 26 to 25.
A proposal put forward by the SNP opposition at Moray Council aimed to go further and sought to ask the boundary review to reduce the number 24 – eight wards of three councillors each.
Currently there are six wards with three councillors and two with four.
Leader of the SNP opposition, Councillor Pearl Paul, argued that the proposal would be ‘more logical’ as it would provide the same number of councillors for each ward and still be broadly in line with the numbers of constituents per councillor being suggested in the review.
The SNP motion led to a tied vote with 10 for and 10 against – subsequently the Convener used his casting vote to retain the status quo.
Following the meeting Councillor Paul said: “There is a wider need for a review of local democracy and work is being done on that elsewhere but in terms of The Moray Council as it stands the SNP believes it would be better if eight wards in Moray had the same number of councillors in each one.
“Reducing the councillor numbers from 26 to 24 would achieve this and would save over £32,000 in salary costs alone. Adding in employers national insurance, pension costs and other training and expenses it could save the council upwards of £50,000.”