Angus Council’s deputy leader has sensationally resigned from the administration.
Arbroath independent councillor David Fairweather said he has decided to step down after the “bungled handling of the recycling centres issue”.
He said the u-turn on the closure of the Monifieth dump suggested the current administration “has fallen at the first hurdle and lacks the ability to agree decisions”.
Administration leader Bob Myles said he did not agree with Mr Fairweather’s comments and was disappointed he had elected to step down.
“On the face of it, this is good news for Monifieth,” said Mr Fairweather.
“In reality however, it illustrates a knee jerk decision-making process, which has further drained already dwindling cash reserves, and that focuses on short term populism at the expense of competent leadership and fiscal prudence.”
The decision to keep the Monifieth site open for a further 12 months was led by Mr Myles following a summer review of proposals approved under the previous SNP-run council.
Mr Fairweather – who was on holiday in Spain when the postponement was agreed last week – said he was “appalled that elected members are so willing to ride roughshod over the professional expertise of senior officers”.
He said: “I sat on the member officer group which examined this issue, and the fact is that there are significant concerns around health and safety, as well as financial aspects at the Kirriemuir and Monifieth sites.
“Even then, some councillors would ignore this and simply keep them open no matter what the consequences are.
“I am appalled that elected members are so willing to ride roughshod over the professional expertise of senior officers, solely, in my view, in the cavalier pursuit of headlines for themselves and their parliamentary party colleagues.
“The fact is that the council is facing a period of extraordinary cutbacks, with extremely difficult decisions to make.
“The bungled handling of the recycling centres issue suggests to me that the current administration has fallen at the first hurdle and lacks the ability to agree decisions.
“This would not only result in chaos for council officers, it would also negatively impact the running of the council.”
“I am not motivated by fancy titles, extra allowances or self interest, and I have chosen to resign from the administration and other roles with immediate effect.”
Mr Fairweather said he will continue as a councillor – serving his constituents in Arbroath and voting at council “for what I believe is in the best interests of Angus”.
In response, Mr Myles said he had spoken to Mr Fairweather over the phone but would like to discuss matters with him face-to-face.
He said that he respected Mr Fairweather’s stance but did not agree with it.
He also said it was “early days” in terms of replacing Mr Fairweather.
He said: “I would agree there are financial constraints on the council but the rationale behind rethinking the Kirriemuir and Monifieth closures were in some ways to look at possible future savings.
“One of the biggest challenges facing the council is residual waste so the more we can put to recycling will be saving money for the council.”
Mr Myles said the u-turn was a “sensible and pragmatic move” rather than making a “knee-jerk decision”.
“It would have been folly to have closed an avenue to get rid of waste in a more cost-effective way,” he added.
When asked if Mr Fairweather’s decision could lead to other resignations, Mr Myles added: “I would sincerely hope not.”