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By-election in November after councillor quits

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By Abbey Morton
Lockerbie and Lochmaben

A £12K by-election could have been prevented if a councillor waited less than six weeks before resigning.

Graeme Tait’s shock resignation last week from the Annandale North ward has triggered a by-election.

But the new incumbent will only be in post for six months until the council elections in May.

Dumfries and Galloway Council have confirmed if Mr Tait had held on until November 4 there would have been no need for a by-election and the vacancy would have kept until next year.

The local authority’s returning officer yesterday confirmed the by-election will take place on November 17.

And they estimate the cost of the event to the taxpayer will be approximately £12,000.

Meanwhile, Mr Tait is still to issue a full statement on his surprise resignation last Wednesday.

But, he took to social media site Twitter last Thursday to say: “Yesterday I resigned as a councillor with immediate effect on DG Council to concentrate on my career. Thank you for all kind comments.”

As revealed by this newspaper last week, Mr Tait, 25, attended just five meetings this year with the most recent being on April 12.

He earned £16,728 from his job as a councillor last year and claimed nothing in expenses.

Discussing the issue at yesterday’s meeting of Annandale and Eskdale area committee, where Mr Tait previously held the role of vice-chairman, chairman Ronnie Ogilvie said: “He resigned as a councillor, so on behalf of the committee I wish him well in the future.

“He’s following his career path, so I wish him well.”

Mr Tait was elected to Dumfries and Galloway Council in November 2012 after the sudden death of Ted Brown.

He was initially a member of the Conservative group but defected to Labour in March 2014.

He lives in Lockerbie and in August began a job as a team leader at Lydiafield Care Home.

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