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All quiet about Clark

COUNCILLORS in Shetland remained tight lipped today (Thursday) following a two hour meeting behind closed doors to discuss the future of their chief executive Dave Clark

Rory Mair, chief executive of local government umbrella group COSLA, flew up from Edinburgh this morning to present a report on the ways in which the council could part company with its top official.

Mr Clark left his office last week less than eight months after he took up the £100,000 a year post following a series of high profile fall outs with elected members.

Complaints against Mr Clark surround the treatment of assistant chief executive Willie Shannon when his job was “deleted” in August last year, a drinking session with consultant Andrew Laidler in Mr Clark’s office, and also the way Mr Laidler was appointed.

Last month, Mr Clark’s private life featured prominently in a popular Scottish tabloid.

In his report to members Mr Mair is understood to have presented four possible options for getting rid of Mr Clark – disciplinary action, voluntary severance, resignation or a negotiated settlement.

Council convener Sandy Cluness said members had agreed to make no comment following the meeting and declined to be interviewed.

The only councillor willing to give a brief statement was Dr Jonathan Wills who had initiated the first complaint against Mr Clark, in September last year, when he alleged Mr Clark had threatened to kick his teeth in during a phone call.

Mr Wills said: “Because it is a staffing matter, I am afraid none of us can say anything. It is, no doubt, frustrating for the public not to hear what happened, but I hope that eventually people will come to understand why none of us is saying anything at all.

“I think it is in our best interest and in the best interest of the member of staff concerned.

“Councillors are very well aware of the public concern, and that is why we have decided to keep our mouths shut about what is going on.”

Mr Mair also declined to comment and flew back to Edinburgh on the afternoon plane. Mr Clark also refused to comment when approached yesterday.

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