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Council / Leask interested in leader role

ANOTHER councillor has expressed their interest in taking on the top job in the chamber.

Stephen Leask, who was re-elected in Lerwick North and Bressay for a second term earlier this month, said he feels he could bring much to the role.

Emma Macdonald and Ryan Thomson have already signalled their interest in the role.

Stephen Leask.

The position, and other roles in the chamber, should be filled at the first meeting of the new full council on Monday.

Councillors need to be nominated by their colleagues for roles, and if there is more than one in the running it will go to a vote via a secret ballot.

The leader post comes with a salary of £32,622, which includes the basic councillor pay of £19,571.

Leask – who in the last council term vice-chair of the development committee for a few years – said he felt he has the experience for the job, having been mentored by ex-development chairman Alastair Cooper.

He added that “not only will we have the existing skilled councillors from past administrations, but the newly elected members – who bring much knowledge, experience and intellect to the chamber, and who are passionate for change – require an enabler to listen and act on their aspirations”.

Leask said there is a “tsunami of inflation, the cost of living and various other difficulties…it’s going to hit everybody and every family in Shetland”.

“Unless we can actually come together and actually listen to the folk in Shetland and think of the issues that really matter to them…I think we have to reach out and actually try and bring the whole of the Shetland people together, and work together.”

The previous holder of the leader post was Shetland West member Steven Coutts, who stood down from the council after a decade in May’s election.

At Monday’s meeting councillors will also decide whether to elect a depute leader.