A row over the appointment of a deputy chief executive for Highland Council saw simmering tensions among opposition and administration councillors surface at a meeting yesterday.
After an hour of heated debate at the full council meeting members agreed by a narrow margin to suspend active recruitment to the £200,000 post, and urgently reinstate regular seminars to update councillors on organisational restructuring.
Caithness councillor, Raymond Bremner, won the vote against an amendment by deputy Alasdair Christie, who proposed that the administration carry on with the recruitment of a deputy chief executive, while also pushing for the reinstatement of the members’ seminars.
Mr Christie told the meeting: “It seems to me that any organisation with a £600 million turnover needs to have a deputy chief executive, a person looking after a significant portion of the council activities, and we agreed and accepted that as a council in the past.”
In the end Mr Christie lost the vote by 33 votes to 34.
Mr Bremner said the reinstated seminars could well result in the appointment of a deputy CEO.
He said: “They were an important opportunity where members and officers worked together to review and implement plans for organisational and transitional change.
“I’m sure this will enable the council to have confidence in the benefit of continuing with the plans and that may well include the appointment of a deputy CEO, previously recommended as part of the transitional change.”