May 25 2012 by Colin Rutherford, Kilmarnock Standard
THE new provost of East Ayrshire is Jim Todd.
The election of the motorcycle enthusiast and SNP councillor for Kilmarnock South was one of the few surprises at the first meeting of the council held since this month’s elections.
He defeated Labour nominee Billy Crawford by 17 votes to 14, with new Independent councillor Ellen Freel abstaining.
Councillor John Campbell is depute provost – a post he held under the previous administration.
Labour nominated veteran councillor Gordon Cree.
Carrying out his first duty as Provost – chairing the council meeting – Provost Todd said: “I will try to be a progressive provost who will strive to make East Ayrshire the best council in Scotland. We will work together and my door is always open to anybody.”
As expected, last week’s meeting saw the new SNP/Conservative coalition – agreed only days before – take power.
The SNP’s Douglas Reid remains leader of East Ayrshire Council, with Tory Tom Cook as his deputy – easily seeing off Labour’s Maureen McKay and Neil McGhee.
Councillor Reid said “I would like to thank everyone for their support.”
And, echoing the new provost, he added: “I hope to continue to make East Ayrshire the best council in Scotland.”
Mr Cook said: “I look forward to working constructively with the SNP on the council to deliver the best services possible for the people of East Ayrshire.”
The coalition agreement gives the Conservatives a place on the council cabinet.
Elected to cabinet posts were: Spokespersons for strategic planning, management and resources and equalities – Douglas Reid and Alan Brown; Improving community health and wellbeing – Kathy Morrice and Eòghann MacColl; Delivering community regeneration – Jim Buchanan and Bobby McDill; Promoting lifelong learning – Iain Linton and Stephanie Primrose; Improving community safety – Tom Cook.
Cabinet places are also reserved for the leader and depute leader of the Labour opposition.
Labour also took the influential post of chair of the council’s governance and scrutiny committee, with Councillor Barney Menzies taking up that position.
Conservative John McFadzean is vice-chair.