The new head of an influential area committee is facing calls to resign - just minutes after being elected.
Independent Glenrothes councillor Bill Brown yesterday become the third chairman of the town’s main decision making body in less than 12 months following the Labour group’s successful motion for early removal of existing chairman, SNP councillor Fiona Grant.
Nominated by Labour councillor Kay Morrison, she said it was “time to change the way the committee did things and a time for a more collaborative and consensual approach”.
But amid extraordinary scenes at Fife House, Mr Brown, who resigned from the SNP in June, but who retained his role as a councillor, was immediately called upon to “do the honourable thing and resign” by his former SNP colleagues.
Despite the objections, Cllr Brown said he was honoured to accept the role and urged unity among committee members for the good of Glenrothes.
“There have been a lot of petty politics in Fife Council since I started,” he said.
“I want to build bridges here and do my utmost to achieve the best for all of the people in Glenrothes.
“I don’t need to say why I left the SNP, there are reasons but I will not make them public, I’m not prepared to do that.
“People can laugh or joke but that won’t stop me from doing my job or my duty.
“I was elected to the Council in my own name and not as a member of the SNP. I have a strong faith and urge everyone to work together for the good of this town.”
Despite last week’s SNP by-election victory, it still left the Nationalists with no overall majority allowing Labour to remove Cllr Grant and vice chairman Ross Vettraino, who has now been replaced by Labour councillor John Wincott.
Labour’s support for the independent councillor has blocked any chance the town’s SNP group had of retaining control of the committee.
And immediatly after confirmation that Cllr Brown was to accept the influential position, there were calls for his resignation.
Cllr John Beare said: “Cllr Brown claimed today that he was ‘elected to the Council in his own name’ and not as a member of the SNP.
“Having given a solemn undertaking to resign as a Councillor if he resigned from the SNP, I call on him to honour the vow he made.
“I believe that it is not too late for Cllr Brown to honour that solemn commitment and to resign and face the electorate under his own name and to seek the endorsement of the people for his claim.”
Following the extraordinary events deposed chairman Cllr Grant said: “I think it is unfortunate that the chairman has changed three times in the last few months, this could lead to continuity problems.
“I will do my best to co-operate with the new chairman to ensure that the people of Glenrothes are not disadvantaged by the change.”