Angus Council is preparing to meet for the first time since the Scottish local elections earlier this month.
On Thursday, a new chamber in the authority’s Angus House HQ at Orchardbank in Forfar will host the first face-to-face full council for more than two years.
May 5 saw the SNP take 13 of the council’s 28 seats.
There are seven Conservatives, seven Independents and one Labour councillor.
But the agreement of Carnoustie Independents Brian Boyd and David Cheape to join an SNP-led administration took the largest group across the line for an overall majority.
Monifieth and Sidlaw councillor Beth Whiteside becomes the first female leader in the council’s history.
Last year the total cost of councillors in Angus was more than £738,000.
But once a nationally agreed pay rise is applied it will take the total 2022/23 budget figure to £777k.
What will happen on Thursday?
A special meeting room has been set up in Angus House to accommodate the full council meeting.
Councillors agreed it was better for newly elected members to be in a physical meeting rather than also trying to wrestle with online technology as they get to grips with their new role.
How council committee meetings will be held in the future is yet to be decided.
But there is a chance committee meetings may return there.
The first items on Thursday’s agenda are the election of a Provost and Deputy Provost.
The SNP group has not revealed who their nomination will be.
However, it is anticipated Brian Boyd will be put forward after his agreement to join the administration.
Conveners and deputies on the council’s standing committees will then be appointed.
And with six of the SNP’s 13 councillors being women, Angus can look forward to greater equality than the male-dominated make-up of the former Conservative/Independent administration of the past five years.
Ms Whiteside has promised an administration which “looks to the future, acts with maturity, and works cooperatively.”
Thursday’s agenda also includes a report on councillors’ remuneration.
It sets out how the annual wage bill is distributed.
The council must pay its Leader £39,148.
The Provost can receive a salary of up to 75% of the Leader, which equates to a maximum of £29,361.
In addition, Angus can have up to a maximum of 13 senior councillors who hold roles such as convener or vice-convenerships.
A maximum senior councillor payment is also £29,361.
The maximum total sum Angus can pay to all of its senior councillors is £318,000.
Councillors who do not hold a senior or civic role will receive £19,571.
In 2021/22, Angus only had 11 senior councillors.
And with existing pay costs, national insurance and superannuation, the total cost to the council was £738,473.
A nationally-set pay increase will take the figure to £777,000.
And if the 13 senior councillor posts are filled and all 28 members join the authority’s pension scheme, this year’s total figure could be £795,000.
Finance chief Ian Lorimer says the rules allow for different structures and remuneration levels to be applied.
His report to the new council adds:
“The high level options available are:
- Continue with the current pay structure – this will necessitate areas of dual committee responsibility being determined.
- Vary the number of senior councillors upwards or downwards.
- The remuneration level for the Leader and those councillors not identified as senior councillors are the only ones predetermined in the regulations.
“Remuneration levels of all other posts can be varied upwards or downwards except the Provost which under existing arrangements is at the maximum level.
• Amend the receipted expenditure that can be reimbursed to the Provost from the current maximum of £3,000 or decide not to allow any reimbursement.”