West Dunbartonshire Council’s new Labor leader is named

Lomond councillor Martin Rooney has been named as the new leader of West Dunbartonshire Council, with Leven’s Michelle McGinty set to serve as his deputy.

However, the new Labor administration has already been involved in a spat with the SNP opposition over the makeup of the authority’s new education committee.

A Labor motion that will see 10 of the party’s members sit on the education committee, with just four from the opposition, was narrowly carried – with SNP group leader Karen Conaghan saying “a split of 10 to four is definitely not representative”.

She added: “I would ask that it would be made eight from the administration and six from the opposition.

“I think weighting a committee like that goes against the expressions made at the count that we’d move forward on a cross-party basis for the good of the community.

“It makes you wonder what is really going on here.”

Councillor Conaghan also questioned why all three of the area’s representatives to COSLA, the national body representing local authorities, were Labor members.

The advice from COSLA is that the delegation should represent the balance of political representation within the council.

However Councilor Rooney insisted that his party stood by the decision, which they will review in September.

West Dunbartonshire Council’s winning Labor group.

He explained: “The SNP didn’t have a member of the opposition on COSLA last time and we don’t want to do it now.

“That’s why we’ve selected three Labor members.

“We’ll reconsider this when we get the review of standing orders later on in the year.

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“For now we’ve deliberated on our positions though and we’re quite happy with them.

Councillor Conaghan’s amendment was defeated by 11 votes to 10, despite support from the Community Party’s Jim Bollan.

Meanwhile Councilor Rooney was unanimously elected to the position of council leader, and said he hopes it will be a case of third time lucky.

He said: “I was first elected as leader in 2006, although only for a short term because there were a few things going on at that time.

“I was the shortest serving council leader at the end of that time. I was elected again in 2012 and became the longest serving leader of West Dunbartonshire – a term that has now been matched by Cllr Jonathan McColl.

“Now I’m hopeful it will be third time lucky in terms of getting everything we initially set out to do in 2012 that have still to be done.

“Hopefully we can all work together in the best interests of West Dunbartonshire.”

Former education convenor Michelle McGinty, who regained the seat she lost in 2017, was appointed deputy, with Kilpatrick’s Douglas McAllister appointed as Provost and Leven councillor John Millar chosen as th depute provost.

Councilor McAllister, who was previously the area’s civic head between 2012 and 2017, said it was an honor to be returning to the role.

He added: “It is a great privilege to hold this post and I will do my very best to serve the people of this area to the best of my abilities.

“As provost you get to see the very best of West Dunbartonshire, you get to meet some fantastic people and community groups.”

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Meanwhile Dumbarton councilor Karen Conaghan was officially elected as the leader of the SNP opposition, taking over from Jonathan McColl who stepped back from the role last week.

She will be supported by Kilpatrick’s Gordon Scanlon, elected for the first time in the vote on May 5.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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