LEADER George Alexander has flatly denied claims there is no appetite for change at Moray Council.
The accusations were levelled as a parting shot by the eight Tory Councillors who quit the administration earlier today.
The conservatives released a press statement this morning outlining their reason for withdrawing.
This statement claimed that the final straw had been last week’s decision – made against a background of £6million of recent cuts – to advertise two senior management posts at the local authority.
Both posts command annual £90,000 salaries.
Cllr Alexander (Forres, Independent) said: "It is with some regret that I accepted the withdrawal of the conservative councillors from the administration group.
"It is clear that this group of councillors, all of whom have been elected representatives for only 12 months, are frustrated by the rate of change in the council, however I refute the claim in their press release that there is no appetite for change in the council.
"There are many ways of managing change and the departed councillors offered no solution as to where we could source the funding necessary to carry out the accelerated changes they were advocating."
Cllr Alexander also defended his refusal to share the council leader’s role with the Tories.
He added: "The offer of co-leadership was a huge change to the original agreed principles of working and not one that I wish to adopt.
"The Moray Council now finds itself back in the position it was in on May 4 2017.
"Clearly the force is not with this present administration but the chairs and their deputies will continue in position meantime, in order to maintain stability, until such time as a new administration is formed.
"Once again I would urge my colleagues to consider their duty to the people of Moray before considering their duty to any political party."