THE new Conservative/Independent ruling coalition at Scottish Borders Council has unveiled the councillors who will take up enhanced-salary positions of special responsibility at Newtown.

At the first meeting since the May 4 local government elections, the 34-member council will be asked today (Thursday) to approve an 11-strong executive committee.

It will be chaired by Conservative Shona Haslam in her role as leader of the council and will be dominated by her party. Conservatives taking over executive positions are as follows: Tom Weatherston (Kelso and District) – adult social care; Carol Hamilton (East Berwickshire) – children and young people; George Turnbull (Hawick and Hermitage) – finance; Mark Rowley (Mid Berwickshire) – business and economic development; Simon Mountford (Kelso and District) – transformation and human resources; Euan Jardine (Galashiels and District) – culture and sport; and Tom Miers (Leaderdale and Melrose) – planning and environment.

There will also be places at the top table for three of the seven Independents who have agreed to share power with the 15 Tory councillors.

Selkirkshire’s Gordon Edgar will continue as executive member for roads and infrastructure while Sandy Aitchison (Galashiels and District) will switch from education to take responsibility for a new neighbourhood and locality services portfolio.

And former divisional police commander Watson McAteer, elected as an Independent in Hawick and Hermitage, will bag the final executive position as chair of the Police, Fire & Rescue and Safer Communities Board.

Also due to be rubber-stamped today are the elected members who will chair the five new locality committees which will replace area forums and have budgets for local projects.

Messrs Edgar and Mountford will combine their executive roles to preside over the Selkirkshire and Cheviot bodies respectively.

Heading up the other committees, but not on the executive, will be Jim Fullarton (Con, East Berwickshire), who will take the chair in Berwickshire, and Independents Robin Tatler (Tweeddale East) and Stuart Marshall (Hawick & Denholm) who will take the helm of the committees in Tweeddale and Teviot & Liddesdale respectively.

There will also be no place on the executive for an opposition which comprises nine SNP and two Lib Dem elected members along with Davie Paterson who, though returned as an Independent in Hawick and Hermitage, wants no truck with the ruling coalition.