South Mainland councillor wants resignations over Scalloway fiasco
A councillor has called on the SIC’s leaders and two other members to resign following a row over a last-ditch bid to save Scalloway’s secondary department.
Allison Duncan said convener Sandy Cluness and political leader Josie Simpson should stand down after signing an 11th hour proposal to postpone closure plans until after the new Anderson High is built.
The South Mainland councillor has also called on services chairwoman Betty Fullerton and Iris Hawkins to stand aside.
Scalloway councillor and infrastructure chairwoman Mrs Hawkins helped draft the “notice of motion”, as did Mrs Fullerton – although, as services chairwoman, she did not add her signature to it.
Councillors had voted 13-9 in December to proceed with the closure, which the schools service estimates will save £707,000 a year. Pupils and staff have been preparing for the move to the town, with the first pupils due at the AHS next month.
The motion is due to be debated at the Full Council on 17th May.
At a meeting in the town hall this morning Jonathan Wills, one of three members to openly cry foul over the proposals, said the argument not to close was struggling to stand up.
He said staff, parents and pupils were being undermined by the possible last-minute u-turn.
“I need to know whether it’s [the notice of motion] valid. It seems these attempts to postpone a council decision, which is already being implemented, causes difficulties to staff and causes confusion and dismay to parents and pupils,” he said.
“We have a duty to decide as quickly as possible. This motion is incompetent.”
Dr Wills had, along with Gary Robinson and Gussie Angus, already released a statement protesting against the move.
However, chief executive Alistair Buchan, who has been in discussions with legal services, said the notice of motion fell within existing guidelines.
“Our understanding at the moment is that this is a competent motion in terms of the council’s existing rules,” he told the meeting.
Dr Wills also called for the matter to be debated ahead of this month’s Full Council meeting.
However, Mr Cluness refused to budge from the original timetable.
In his statement released after the meeting, Mr Duncan called on Mr Cluness and Mr Simpson to resign, along with Mrs Fullerton and Mrs Hawkins.
He said: “This notice of motion is causing additional unnecessary stress to parents, pupils, senior staff of the education department and the headmistress of the Anderson High School. They just don’t deserve this.
“It disappoints me very much when I see the convener and vice-convener and other members who have been elected to the new [executive] committees signing and playing their part in the notice of motion.
“If councillor Fullerton was involved in putting it together (as stated in The Shetland Times), she should get off the fence and add her name to it.
“Four of the highest elected councillors have put their names to it and in my opinion they should all resign.
“The Accounts Commission has stated we should have corporate leadership and it isn’t going to happen. They are watching us like a hawk – some of our governance is a total shambles. The sooner that the next year’s council election comes round the better.”