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Council / Tributes paid after outgoing SIC leader chairs final meeting

SHETLAND’s outgoing council leader has received high praise after chairing his final meeting.

Shetland South member George Smith said Steven Coutts had “demonstrated great political acumen” in his time as leader.

SIC political leader Steven Coutts.
SIC leader Steven Coutts. Photo: Shetland News

He is not standing in May’s local government election, having taken up a job at the top of local social enterprise COPE Ltd.

Coutts presided over his final policy and resources committee meeting on Monday.

He was appointed to the role in 2018 after Cecil Smith stepped down.

George Smith said he was impressed by the calm and measured way the Shetland West councillor dealt with questions and debate.

He also praised Coutts for not taking a “populist approach” to things and preferring a longer-term view.

“I think you have been a really good leader with an open door policy,” Smith said.

Meanwhile development committee chairman Alastair Cooper also spoke up for Coutts, saying that although they did not always agree on things “we never fell out”.

Coutts was first elected to the council in 2012 in the North Isles ward, before transferring to the westside in 2017.

Smith and Cooper have joined Coutts in deciding against standing in the 5 May election.

The notice of election was confirmed by the council today (Monday).

Nomination forms can only be accepted on weekdays between 10am and 4pm from Tuesday (15 March) until 4pm on Wednesday 30 March.

More information for anyone wishing to stand in the election can be found here.