North Ayrshire Councillor David O’Neill has been elected president of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) following a meeting of the full convention in Edinburgh today.
Councillor Michael Cook from Scottish Borders Council was appointed vice president.
Commenting following his election, O’Neill said: “This is a great honour for me. Having been the leader of a local authority for three terms, a challenging position which I found both enjoyable and extremely interesting, there was only ever one position in Scottish local government which would offer me a more interesting challenge and that is the president of COSLA.
“I am delighted to have been elected to that position today and I look forward to working with my local government colleagues over the next five years representing both local government and communities throughout Scotland. I can assure both my colleagues in local government and the people of Scotland that, working with Michael as vice president, we will give the roles our absolute all.”
Cook, who is an independent councillor, added: “It is a privilege to be elected to the role of COSLA vice president. Like David I am committed to representing both local government and, perhaps more importantly, the communities and people we serve.
“In doing so we must be inclusive in responding to the enormous challenges that lie ahead.”
Minister for Local Government and Planning Derek Mackay welcomed O’Neill to the post.
He said: “I congratulate Cllr O’Neill and look forward to developing the productive relationship between the Scottish Government and Local Government that has delivered real benefits for people in Scotland since 2007.”
Labour’s local government spokeswoman Sarah Boyack said she thought O’Neill would lead COSLA in a consensual, sensible and pragmatic way, putting the needs of local government first.
She added: “Councils are going through a really hard time at the moment. They are being asked to do more by the Scottish Government, but given less money in return.
“Although Labour is now a larger party than the SNP on COSLA, the days of COSLA being dominated by any one party are over and I am sure David will attract the cross-party support needed to ensure a strong voice for local government. I looking forward to working with him.”