The new chairman of Glenrothes’ influential area committee has called on councillors to end the squabbling and petty points scoring - and focus on what’s best for the town.
That’s the frank message from independent councillor Bill Brown, who became the town’s leading elected representative and head of the main decision-making body affecting Glenrothes on Wednesday.
Following extraordinary scenes at Fife House, where he and Labour’s John Wincott replaced ousted chairman and vice chairman SNP’s Fiona Grant and Ross Vettraino, Cllr Brown told the Gazette: “As an independent who is not bound by any party, I can work with both groups in a way that will be good for the Glenrothes area in a similar way to independent Councillor Willie Clark in Cowdenbeath.
“I have asked all councillors to stop point scoring and all the petty politics in meetings so that we can get on with the work in hand.
“We were all elected to serve the community to the best of our abilities, but there are some who seem to think that they were elected to build the party first and foremost.
“We can achieve great things if we work together.”
Cllr Brown now wants the committee to forge closer links with community groups, residents and young people and said there needed to be a sharper focus on local issues, most notably the threat of library closures.
“Glenwood library is a great example of somewhere that is at the heart of the community and should be a hub for the whole area,” Cllr Brown.
He added: “Fife Cultural Trust needs to save money from its budget just like every department within the council.
“We can help to suggest a better way forward that will allow us to keep as many of our libraries open as possible whilst still allowing the trust to save money
“We can also argue for more money for the cultural trust for next year’s council budget, that would allow them to keep most of the libraries open, allowing them to develop and diversify with job clubs and community education opportunities.”
Cllr Brown now wants the ten other committee members to help decide the future agenda and objectives for the town.
“I hope that all of us can be involved in deciding what is best for the Glenrothes area,” he said.
“Together we will be able to set achievable goals. Listening and working with the community is the way forward for Glenrothes.”
Cllr Brown, who resigned from the SNP in June just weeks after its historic General Election result, is thought by many to be in for a rough ride as chairman.
He has already faced a number of calls for his resignation, citing a vow that he agreed to resign as a councillor and seek re-election if he left the SNP - demands that he has flatly dismissed.
“To be perfectly honest, I can’t remember taking or signing a vow,” said Cllr Brown. “However if that was some kind of ‘contract’ then I am afraid the SNP breached that contract on a number of points, which has made it null and void.”
And about his leaving the party he added: “I sent a three page document to senior party members in May explaining all my reasons.
“Many of the comments to newspapers and on social media since have been appalling and are without foundation.
“My reasons were so strong that I had to resign, just after the SNP had their best ever results, it was a very difficult decision to make when it would have been much easier to stay and keep quiet in a party that seemed to be growing in popularity across Scotland.”