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COSLA CONFERENCE BEGINS TODAY

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The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, whose conference opens today, will this week be absorbing the results...
The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, whose conference opens today, will this week be absorbing the results of a consultation exercise of all 32 member councils, reports The Herald (p6).

There is some concern among members about Cosla's decision to advertise for a new chief executive in advance of local authority elections on 6 May and prior to the completion of Cosla's own consultation exercise on its future.

It is understood that the plan has infuriated Glasgow City Council's Labour leadership, which will make known its displeasure in writing.

More generally, Glasgow is said to be seriously disenchanted with what its leaders refer to as an anti-Glasgow and anti-west bias in what it perceives as a convention dominated by Edinburgh in alliance with the rural authorities.

Serious thought is being given to the possibility of Glasgow not re-affiliating to Cosla and instead negotiating directly with the Scottish Office.

But Keith Geddes, the Cosla president, denies any such bias and said: 'We have in the past been very supportive of Glasgow, in particular the deal that was done with all Scottish local authorities to support Glasgow which was losing out on money after the reorganisation of local government in 1996.

On the issue of advertising for a new chief executive, Mr Geddes felt it would be ill-advised to wait until after the election, given the notice that the successful candidate will have to give.

Meanwhile Henry McLeish, the Scottish local government minister, will address the conference which will highlight the need for a positive partnership between local government and the new Scottish parliament based on mutual respect.

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