McKay, one of the union's assistant secretaries, had been invited by education minister Sam to join the Executive's troubled policy unit as seconded adviser to Himself and health minister Susan Deacon.
What was the EIS to do - lose its political antennae at a crucial time or gain a political insider? In time-honoured fashio, it nearly began facing both ways. The union's finance and general purposes committee tied 11-11, with chairman Willie Hart using his casting vote to keep McKay in his place.
Next stop, last Friday's executive council where a gang of three from the elected leadership - Messrs Patten, McCrossan and Nicol - tried to overturn that decision. This was enough to seal McKay's fate, and the council told him by 31 votes to 27 that he was staying where he was. Now there is an EIS veteran whose retirement later in the year will give him plenty of free time - Forrester, we think his name is.