Falkirk Council Tory leader to get £19,000 pay
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The leader of Falkirk Council's Conservative group will get an annual payment for the work he does as the leader of an opposition party.
Councillor James Kerr will take home £19,000, the same sum Robert Bissett receives as leader of the Labour Group, which is currently the largest opposition party.
For more than a decade there were only two Conservative members of Falkirk Council - but in 2017 the group's numbers swelled to seven.
At a meeting of Falkirk Council on Wednesday, members agreed the payment to recognise that there are now three parties in the district, and each group leader has a demanding workload.
Cllr Kerr became Conservative group leader earlier this year after spending more than a year as an independent.
He was forced to stand down from his group when he and fellow Upper Braes councillor John McLuckie were charged by police over planning concerns.
After the Procurator Fiscal announced that there would be no proceedings against either, Mr Kerr was able to rejoin the Conservative group and swiftly became leader.
The council meeting also agreed that Falkirk Council's Licensing Board will now revert to ten members.
The board was reduced to eight members to make it easier to get a quorum as Councillors Kerr and McLuckie could not take up their places while suspended by their parties.
Councillor McLuckie was appointed to the board of Falkirk Community Trust as an independent member - a position he resigned when he was readmitted to the party.
Councillor Robert Spears, the administration's spokesman on tourism, leisure and culture, will now take up the position.