“WE want to lead a Council that is transparent, inclusive and accountable, putting people first”.
That was the message from Alex Rowley who was elected leader of Fife Council at the first meeting of the new administration in Glenrothes on Thursday.
The gathering saw the formation of the new minority Labour administration and the election of Fife footballing legend and first time Councillor, Jim Leishman as Provost of Fife.
David Ross, re-elected Kirkcaldy north councillor, was selected as Depute Leader while Kay Morrison, member for Glenrothes North, Leslie and Markinch, was elected to serve as Depute Provost.
Unveiling radical plans for a new form of political governance in the Kingdom, Councillor Rowley (right) told members: “It was not the easiest route to form a minority administration, but I am delighted we now have an administration in place so we can get on with running the Council for the people of Fife.
“I’m under no illusions of the challenges we face, but over the next five years we are going to do everything we can to improve the quality of life for the people we are here to represent.
“It’s critical to work together and I will do everything I can do to make sure all councillors get involved.
“We want to lead a Council that is transparent, inclusive and accountable, putting people first.”
Cllr Rowley said under the new system the Council would reconnect with the public, resulting in more mature and transparent decision-making.
Councillor Dave Dempsey, Conservative party leader, supported the new system as he believes it will allow all parties to engage earlier in the decision-making process.
Councillor Andrew Rodger, Independent, also backed the model.
“All we want is true consultation, true scrutiny and a better Fife for the people of Fife,” he said.
But fears of a return to the days of ‘the Kirkcaldy Kremlin’ were voiced by Councillor Peter Grant, Fife SNP leader.
He said: “It would be a travesty if Labour started imposing a single-party dictatorship in Fife. It’s as if we are going back 20 years to the days of the Kirkcaldy Kremlin.
“I agree there are different ways of doing things, but where was this restructuring mentioned in Labour’s manifesto?”
Councillor Tim Brett, Liberal Democrat group leader, echoed the concerns.
He said: “We have some serious concerns with this proposal for an executive structure.
“We feel very strongly the consensual, democratic decision making of all-party committees was far more in the interest of the people and resulted in better policies.
“Instead, the big decisions will be taken by a very small group of councillors, overwhelmingly representing a party who less than one in six Fifers voted for.”
The Labour administration, backed by the three Conservative and four independent councillors, put forward a discussion paper on the plans to be considered at a full meeting of Fife Council today (Thursday).