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Council / Little enthusiasm for audit committee vacancies

Lerwick Town Hall.

ONE UNFILLED place still remains on Shetland Islands Council’s audit committee after little interest was shown from councillors in its two vacancies.

Lerwick member Cecil Smith accepted a nomination to return to the committee at a meeting of the full council on Wednesday after stepping down from the position in October.

Cecil Smith.Lerwick south councillor Cecil Smith.

Two vacancies were up for grabs on the committee, which keeps the council under scrutiny, after Ryan Thomson stepped down due to his workload.

There was already another longstanding vacancy after Smith had stepped down last year.

Amanda Hawick and Peter Campbell declined nominations before Smith agreed to return to the committee.

George Smith declined the other vacancy, as did Beatrice Wishart.

Some of the councillors stressed workload as the reason why they did not want to take on the role, with George Smith saying he is due to attend nearly 80 council meetings this year.

Council leader Steven Coutts said it was “very, very disappointing we have not got member coming forward to this role”.

He called on the council to prepare a report on whether independent members could be co-opted onto the committee.

There were, however, a number of councillors who were unable to be nominated as they could not attend the full council meeting.

A place on the harbour board, which oversees the council’s ports and harbours, was also up for grabs after Thomson again resigned.

The outgoing Thomson nominated Robbie McGregor, who accepted, before Andrea Manson put forward Hawick, who is the only elected member not to sit on a committee or board.

Hawick said she would be pleased to accept the nomination but would be happy for her colleague to take the role.

McGregor then backed down from his nomination to offer it to Hawick, who accepted her first committee role since being re-elected as a councillor in 2017.