SHETLAND Islands Council is to share its chief finance officer with Aberdeen City Council, it announced on Friday.
In an unusual move, the SIC has appointed Aberdeen’s head of finance Steve Whyte as its new senior finance officer to replace James Gray.
Both local authorities have approved the joint appointment, in which he will provide financial leadership, oversee projects and attend council meetings in Lerwick and Aberdeen.
The joint appointment will see a saving on wages, which will go towards covering the additional cost of flights and overnight accommodation.
The SIC believes the move will enhance the working relationship between the two councils, providing access to shared expertise and specialist knowledge.
In a statement it said: “Shetland Islands Council, for example, has 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.”
Whyte joined Aberdeen City Council when it formed in 1996, having previously worked for its predecessor Grampian Regional Council, which he joined as a trainee accountant.
He became Aberdeen’s head of finance at the end of last year.
He replaces Gray who has steered the council through the most rigorous budget exercise it has ever undergone over the past three years.
Gray helped the authority cut its spending by around 20 per cent to bring about its first balanced budget in over a decade.
SIC leader Gary Robinson said: “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.”
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