Councillor David Paterson won’t sit on the committee which is due to consider the green waste petition next week.
The petition is due to be considered next Thursday and, speaking to the Hawick News this week, Mr Paterson, who is the council’s environmental services portfolio holder, said: “It would not be right and proper for me to sit on this committee.
“I have made this quite clear and I will absent myself from the committee and any debate that takes place.
“Legally, I am perfectly entitled to be there, but I do not want anyone pointing the finger at me over this in months to come.”
Considering the petition, which was started by former SBC councillor Andrew Farquhar, will be Tory councillors Tom Weatherston and John Greenwell, who voted against the cuts last year. Also present will be Independent council leader David Parker, and SNP members Jim Torrance and Stuart Bell, who, as part of the administration, voted to scrap the green waste service. This leaves Lib Dem councillor Alec Nicol, who chairs the petitions group. Mr Nicol was involved in an attempt to have the service reinstated in Kelso in May.
Scottish Borders Council confirmed this week that Mr Paterson’s place in the committee would not be filled by anyone else.
If the numbers stack up in line with previous voting patterns, it’s likely that the committee will be split 3-3.
And this week, Andrew Farquhar who started the 7,700 signature petition, said: “I have no problem with David Paterson being on the committee. The extent of public support cannot be ignored. I am confident that impartiality will not be compromised by previous statements or behaviour. Elected members will be aware that this meeting will be closely scrutinised by the public, who will expect their petition to be dealt with in a fair and impartial manner.”