>> 30 December 2010

An Aberdeenshire councillor has asked local government watchdog Audit Scotland to investigate the events leading up to and including the departure of the council’s former Director of Education.

The move comes after Aberdeenshire Provost, Bill Howatson, ruled out of order a Motion submitted to the last meeting of the Full Council seeking an investigation. No debate on the subject was permitted and the Motion, despite being accepted by council officials as valid, did not appear on the agenda issued to councillors

Councillor Bryan Stuart (SNP - Inverurie & District) has now written to Audit Scotland asking for an investigation.

Commenting, Cllr Stuart said:

“All I am seeking to do is to have an independent body scrutinise the circumstances of this matter and ensure that council policy was followed and, more importantly, the council taxpayer as well as the council received best value.

“As elected members, we have a duty to scrutinise the actions of the council’s officials but, on this matter, we have been given no information whatsoever. My constituents are understandably concerned by what they have read in the press and involving Audit Scotland will, in my view, provide some assurance.

“I am disappointed I have had to take this action, but the refusal of the Provost to even have the matter placed on the agenda at the last Full Council meeting has left those of us with concerns with no alternative. In taking this action, I have the backing of my council political group.”

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