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Aberdeenshire Council – who is in charge?

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have formed a coalition with independents at Aberdeenshire Council for the next five years. Picture shows; Mark Findlater and Anne Stirling.
The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have formed a coalition with independents at Aberdeenshire Council for the next five years. Picture shows; Mark Findlater and Anne Stirling.

The newly elected representatives of Aberdeenshire Council met earlier this week to decide who would take charge of the local authority.

The meeting at Woodhill House on Thursday saw councillors return to the chambers for the first time in two years following the pandemic.

So who was selected to run the council? Meet the members who were chosen to take on the top roles of the new administration.

Aberdeenshire Council Conservative leader councillor Mark Findlater. Picture by Scott Baxter/DCT Media.
Aberdeenshire Council Conservative leader councillor Mark Findlater. Picture by Scott Baxter/DCT Media.

Aberdeenshire Council’s leader: Councillor Mark Findlater

The Scottish Conservative councillor represents the Troup ward and is a Doric language champion who was first elected in 2012.

He served in the British Army for 23 years as part of the Royal Signals.

He also spent five years with the 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit and focused on bomb disposal.

At the meeting councillor Findlater was also selected to lead the Business Services Committee.

As Leader of the council he will be paid £45,669 per year.

Councillor Anne Stirling
Councillor Anne Stirling

Deputy leader: Councillor Anne Stirling

The Scottish Liberal Democrats councillor represents the Turriff and District ward and was first elected in 1997.

She was selected to be the party’s group leader earlier this month replacing former councillor Peter Argyle who lost his seat at the election.

Councillor Stirling also previously served as the Leader of the council a decade ago.

She was reappointed as chairwoman of the Communities Committee for a second term.

As Deputy Leader councillor Stirling will receive a salary of £34,252 per year.

Aberdeenshire Council's new Deputy Provost Ron McKail and Provost Judy Whyte. Picture by Ben Hendry.
Aberdeenshire Council’s new Deputy Provost Ron McKail and Provost Judy Whyte. Picture by Ben Hendry.

Provost: Councillor Judy Whyte

The independent councillor represents the Inverurie and District ward.

Her appointment makes her the second female Provost of Aberdeenshire.

Councillor Whyte hails from Inverurie and still lives in the town with her husband Keith and their three sons.

This is her second term at Aberdeenshire Council.

Provost Whyte is expected to earn £34,254 per year in her new role.

Deputy provost: Councillor Ron McKail

The Conservative councillor represents the Westhill and District ward.

He was reappointed for a second term after being named Deputy Provost back in 2017.

Ron has lived in Westhill for over 20 years and before becoming a councillor he was the chairman of the Westhill Residents’ Association.

He is also a founding member of the town’s Men’s Shed.

As Deputy Provost councillor McKail will be on an annual salary of £29,970.

Councillor Ross Cassie
Councillor Ross Cassie

Audit Committee chairman: Councillor Ross Cassie

The SNP councillor represents the Troup ward.

This will be his second term as the Audit Committee chairman after his initial appointment in 2017.

He joined the council in 2014 after winning the by-election that was held following the death of former Conservative councillor John Duncan.

Before joining the council he worked as a driving test examiner for the Driving Standards Agency and served as a police officer with the West Midlands Police.

He currently lives in Macduff with his wife Sue and their two daughters.

Councillor Gillian Owen
Councillor Gillian Owen

Education and Children’s Services chairwoman: Councillor Gillian Owen

This will be councillor Owen’s second term heading the committee after she was reappointed by her colleagues.

The Conservative councillor represents the Ellon and District Ward and she has been a local member since 2007.

She originally hails from north-east Kent, Cliftonville near Margate.

Before becoming a councillor she worked for the Conservative Party as an agent.

She was also the election agent and senior caseworker for former Gordon MP Colin Clark.

She leads the A90 dualling campaign ‘Why Stop at Ellon?’ which she set up in a bid to dual the road between Ellon and Peterhead.

Councillor John Crawley
Councillor John Crawley

Infrastructure Services chairman: Councillor John Crawley

The Conservative councillor represents the Ellon and District ward.

The newly elected member is a business owner and former Royal Navy serviceman.

He has lived in Ellon for nearly 15 years with his wife Avril.

Councillor Sarah Dickinson
Councillor Sarah Dickinson

Sustainability Committee chairwoman: Councillor Sarah Dickinson

The Lib Dem councillor represents the Stonehaven and Lower Deeside ward.

She was first elected at the last local election in 2017.

Councillor Dickinson has lived in Stonehaven for nearly 25 years.

All of the policy committee leaders will earn a similar salary to that of the Deputy Provost, taking home £34,252 per year.

The chair and vice-chair of the region’s six area committees will be appointed when they meet for the first time in the coming weeks.

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