Councillor elected as vice-chair of board

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PETERHEAD South & Cruden councillor Stephen Smith has been elected to be the new vice-convener of Grampian Fire & Rescue Service Joint Board. The SNP councillor was elected at a meeting of the Joint Board in Aberdeen on Friday. The new Convener is Aberdeen City Labour councillor Scott Carle.

Councillor Smith has served as a member of the Joint Board since 2007 and chaired the review of the board’s governance arrangements in 2010 which replaced the previous multi-committee structure with a streamlined Scrutiny Committee and Strategy Committee.

Most recently, he was part of the Scrutiny Committee’s review of the First Responder schemes at Maud and Ballater which recommended retention of the scheme and future expansion due to the immense benefits of having First Responders in rural communities, both terms of saving lives and cost-effectiveness for the taxpayer.

Commenting, Cllr Smith said: “It’s a great privilege for me to be elected to this post by my fellow Board members. This is a very important period for Grampian Fire & Rescue Service as we move towards a single Scottish Fire & Rescue Service in around nine months time.

“As well as safeguarding frontline services through reduced duplication, the new arrangements also give us the opportunity to create a local structure where there is more local input into the governance of the fire service,” he added.