Election accused of ‘Skulduggery’

Buchan House: the home of Aberdeenshire Council in Peterhead
Buchan House: the home of Aberdeenshire Council in Peterhead

Aberdeenshire Council has been accused of ‘skulduggery’ over how the elections for Peterhead Community Council were ran.

It has since been announced that the elections are to be run again.

A member of the community council, Stephen Calder, questioned the result of the original vote.

Submitted nominations were due in August for consideration to be elected.

At the end of the process, it was announced that only 11 local residents had put their names forward - including just one new name to the group.

This number was enough to form a quo-rate group, but not enough that a competitive election was needed.

However, after an internal investigation, it was discovered that only seven nominations were received by the closing date, despite the returning officer’s declaration.

A number under 10 should have triggered a public announcement calling for more candidates.

Mr Calder says that there needs to be greater transparency by the local authority.

He said: “They need to issue a public notice with the results of the August election. They haven’t issued an apology or an explanation of what went wrong.

“It is a mismangled process,” he added.

Mr Calder added that he would like to see 20 nominations, the number that would trigger a full election so that Peterhead can have a ‘proper functioning community council that can hold Aberdeenshire Council to account”.

An Aberdeenshire Council spokesperson said: “The quorum for the establishment of a community council in Peterhead is 10 and only seven nominations were received within the nomination period.

“We recommend that the nomination procedure therefore be run again and Aberdeenshire Council will continue to provide support and advice to ensure a community council can be properly established.”

A closing date for nominations will be announced at a later date.

There will be no community council meetings until this process is compete.