New line-up is an 'assault on democracy'
Published 22 May 2012 09:30 0 Comments
West Dunbartonshire Council
THE new council leader Martin Rooney has vowed to deliver on Labour's election promises - amid stinging criticism from opposition officials.
The new administration was accused of "attacking democracy" as its make-up was revealed, with Labour councillors dominating key decision-making committees including education, planning and housing.
The Labour group - which has 12 members out of 22 - has appointed 10 councillors to the 14-seat education committee, while six Labour representatives will take their place on the eight-seat tendering committee.
All bar one of the council's 18 committees will be headed up by Labour members and councillor positions on outside bodies and working groups - such as Strathleven Regeneration - are made up entirely of Labour representatives.
Lomond councillor Rooney says the move is necessary to fulfil the party's agenda.
He said: "We have overall control of the council with a clear political agenda and we want to make sure we deliver on the things we promised such as the removal of the care of garden scheme.
"We are making sure we have the tools to deliver for the people of West Dunbartonshire."
At a fiery first full council meeting since the election, SNP councillor Jonathan McColl said the membership allocation ensured the opposition "cannot properly scrutinise their actions", while George Black labelled it an "assault on democracy".
Scottish Socialist Jim Bollan added: "I had hoped when they started they would make it an inclusive council but I think they've fallen at the first hurdle
"They got 12 out of 22 (seats in council) but if we look at the committees they're taking between 66 and 70 per cent membership.
"How are we going to scrutinise what you are doing in committees?"
Meanwhile, Clydebank's Douglas McAllister has replaced Denis Agnew as provost for West Dunbartonshire.
Former Provost Agnew was praised for bringing major events like the Monte Carlo Rally to the area.
The council will next meet on Wednesday, June 20.
This article appeared in Dumbarton & Vale of Leven Reporter 21 May 12
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