New finance chief to be shared with Aberdeen
The council has appointed a successor to outgoing finance chief James Gray.
However, new finance officer Steve Whyte will be shared with Aberdeen City Council, whose finance department he currently heads.
Mr Whyte will carry overall responsibility for the proper administration of the SIC’s finances, as he currently does in Aberdeen City.
He will share his time between the two authorities, providing financial leadership to both, overseeing projects, and attending council meetings in Lerwick and Aberdeen as required.
His appointment has now been approved by both local authorities.
The SIC insists there will be no additional cost to either Aberdeen City Council or Shetland Islands Council, as savings will be made through the joint appointment – some of which will cover the costs of additional flights and overnight accommodation.
The arrangement should bring the working relationship between the two councils closer and provide access to shared expertise and specialist knowledge.
The SIC cites significant funds investment knowledge, while Aberdeen City Council, as a much larger authority, has staff with expertise in areas that a small authority cannot be expected to have.
Mr Whyte has been employed with Aberdeen City Council since it was formed in 1996 and worked previously for its predecessor Grampian Regional Council.
He originally joined the council as a trainee accountant and worked his way up through the organisation, appointed head of finance at the end of 2013.
Outgoing finance, James Gray, is leaving the isles after almost three years in the post.
SIC political leader Gary Robinson welcomed the announcement.
“I am very pleased that we will have someone of Steve Whyte’s calibre to manage the council’s financial affairs. James Gray has done an excellent job in helping to shape our financial strategies and he will be a hard act to follow.
“Experienced public sector finance officers are not easy to find, and I look forward to working with Steve to continue the progress we have made in recent years. I have no doubt that this new relationship with Aberdeen City Council will prove beneficial to both organisations.”
Aberdeen City Council leader, Jenny Laing added: “I am delighted that Steve Whyte will be taking on this complementary dual role as the chief financial administrator for both local authorities. Aberdeen City Council considered the matter very carefully and saw that it could bring big benefits to both councils, in terms of sharing knowledge and expertise.
“Steve has performed a key role in managing the city council’s finances effectively and efficiently over a number of years in a difficult economic climate and I am sure Shetland will reap similar benefits under his expert fiscal management.”