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Lamentable contempt

We wish in the strongest terms to defend the integrity of the chair of Shetland Charitable Trust in light of the recent attempt by vice-chair Jonathan Wills to cast doubt on his behaviour and motives.

The facts are very clear. Firstly, Bobby Hunter is a trustee because he was selected to serve by an appointments panel, not because of his role as Lord Lieutenant of Shetland.

Historically, the Lord Lieutenant was a member of the board by virtue of his position, but this practice was ended in 2012 under the last reform of the trust's governance arrangements.

Secondly, in his role as chair Mr Hunter maintained a strictly impartial position on the independent review of trust governance led by the Institute of Directors. Mr Hunter allowed all trustees their full say, including Dr Wills who was the only trustee granted the privilege of having an appendix summarising his views incorporated in the final report.

At our meeting last May to decide upon the new arrangements Mr Hunter quite properly allowed time for a full and open debate, but in no way attempted to influence the trustees' decision.

Once that decision had been made, however, he quite properly fulfilled his duty in representing the choice made by a majority of trustees. To suggest otherwise is plain and simply wrong.

Thirdly, unlike the vice-chair, the chair has accepted this democratic decision and adhered to the terms of the trustees' code of conduct, which binds us to the principles of collective responsibility (i.e. to support the trust's position when decisions have been taken) and respect for fellow trustees.

As vice-chair, Dr Wills has additional duties both to support the chair and to represent the decisions made by trustees, whether or not he personally agrees with them.

In abusing his position as vice-chair to publicly attack the trust's chair and the trust's decisions, Dr Wills has displayed a lamentable contempt towards his fellow trustees, the trust itself and the democratic principles that he claims to champion, while detracting from the good work done by trustees and staff.

Keith Massey
Peter Malcolmson
Ian Napier
James Smith
Drew Ratter
Andrew Cooper
Tom Macintyre

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