More controversy sees Clark granted second period of special leave from council
The future of Shetland Islands Council chief executive David Clark was unclear this week after he was granted special holiday leave for the second time in only eight months in the job.
A statement released from Lerwick Town Hall yesterday said the council had received representation from Mr Clark’s legal team in response to “recent events,” although it declined to comment on exactly what was behind the move to get lawyers involved.
The statement added that Mr Clark, who only took up the senior post at the council last June, had been granted leave “whilst these issues are being resolved”.
This will be the second spell of extended leave Mr Clark has had since he followed in his father Ian’s footsteps – who became the SIC’s first chief executive in the 1970s and is credited with negotiating Shetland’s oil wealth at the birth of the Sullom Voe era – in the position.
Mr Clark was only three months into his role when he was forced to take an unscheduled break over allegations he had threatened councillor Jonathan Wills with violence – although an investigation found no proof to substantiate the claim.
The chief executive had already caused a row when he “deleted” the post of assistant chief executive Willie Shannon without prior consultation over the move.
Questions were asked over his appointment of former business associate Andrew Laidler to conduct a review of the £49 million Anderson High School project.
Mr Clark also courted controversy when he was found drinking in his office at Lerwick Town Hall, although he claimed to have been off duty at the time and was enjoying a celebratory drink with Mr Laidler following the completion of the high school review.
In December six councillors submitted a complaint about Mr Clark’s performance and the Accounts Commission announced it would investigate the authority.
Mr Clark’s reputation was not helped by sensational coverage concerning his private life which featured in The Sun newspaper a fortnight ago.