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NORTH LANARKSHIRE CHIEF DEFENDS MEMBERS' APPOINTMENTS

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The chief executive of North Lanarkshire UA, Andrew Cowe, yesterday denied any wrongdoing in the appointment of off...
The chief executive of North Lanarkshire UA, Andrew Cowe, yesterday denied any wrongdoing in the appointment of officials and said he believed they had all been selected on merit, The Scotsman reports (p2).

But he said that he himself thought Ian Gilmour should have been given the job of social work director over the members' choice of 64 year old David McKendrick, and he said he thought other candidates were better qualified than the appointed housing director Gavin Whitfield.

During the public hearing of the government's inquiry, Mr Cowe, when asked about possible conflicts of interest involved in councillors who held junior social work posts at Strathclyde RC interviewing their 'boss' for a post on the new authority, Mr Cowe said:

'I don't think anyone thought to check through the employment of members relative to a candidate. The same thing has happened elsewhere, it must have happened elsewhere.'

Asked whether he thought prudence would have urged councillors to have mentioned their position, Mr Cowe replied: 'I cannot be their conscience, my concern is the legal position.'

The inquiry heard, reports The Scotsman, that of 22 interviewing committee members, ten were from Motherwell.

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