Councillor Hugh Hunter retired today as Leader of South Ayrshire Council.
Councillor Hunter made the decision to step down to allow for “a new era of leadership.” He confirmed he would continue to serve as a Conservative Councillor for the Prestwick ward where he was first elected in 1999.
Councillor Bill McIntosh is the new Leader of the Conservative Group. He is currently the portfolio holder for Resource and Performance.
Councillor Hunter said: “I have been honoured to serve as South Ayrshire Council’s Leader. We have made huge progress in the last three years in becoming a modern, ambitious organisation focussed on delivering high quality services for the people of South Ayrshire. I have worked hard with my portfolio holders and fellow elected members to make strong, sustained progress. I am proud of what we have achieved. I believe the time is right for a new era of leadership to steer the Council through the challenging times that lie ahead.
“While I am retiring from the office of Leader, I will continue to serve the people of Prestwick as their local Councillor to the best of my abilities and do everything in my power to represent them well.
“I am immensely proud of all this Council has achieved during my time as Leader and I will support the administration to ensure the Council continues to deliver high-quality services for the people of South Ayrshire.”
South Ayrshire Council chief executive David Anderson, said: “Hugh has led the Council through one of the most challenging periods it has ever faced.
“Over the past three years, the Council has been completely transformed in terms of decision-making and officer structures, cross-party working and financial stability, and a new dynamic and ambitious Council has emerged that has vision for the future. This will make a real difference to the people of South Ayrshire.
“I thank Hugh for all his work and efforts, and look forward to working with his successor to continue to do all we can to establish South Ayrshire as the most inclusive, sustainable and dynamic community in Scotland.”
South Ayrshire Council Provost Winifred Sloan said: “Hugh has done a terrific job leading the Council since May 2007. His tenure has been one of achievement focused on making South Ayrshire Council a modern, ambitious organisation. His strong focus has been on the people, businesses and organisations within the local authority, and improving service standards. Working with cross-party support, he has transformed the Council. He has steered it to a position of financial stability, and we now have a clear strategic approach to our business. Hugh has worked tirelessly and has injected wisdom, experience and compassion to the role. He has worked relentlessly for the people of South Ayrshire, and we are indebted to him for what has been achieved over the past 3 years.”
“Bill McIntosh has worked closely with Hugh in transforming the Council and in the development and delivery of the Council’s Improvement Agenda. He is the natural choice to take over at the helm. His experience will be invaluable going forward, and the Conservative Group look forward to working with him in his new role.”
Councillor Hunter will continue as Leader of the Council until a special meeting of South Ayrshire Council on Wednesday 3 February, where the future leadership of the Council will be considered.
Councillor Hugh Hunter’s retiral letter: CLICK HERE