Nicolson fallout gets personal;News amp; Opinion

5th November 1999 at 00:00
A FORMER national president of the Educational Institute of Scotland has been removed from the local supply list for criticising his council in public.

Angus McCormack, who had retired from Stornoway's troubled Nicolson Institute, wrote an article in last week's issue of the Stornoway Gazette that was highly critical of the Western Isles Council and Neil Galbraith, the authority's acting chief executive and formerly director of education.

At the weekend Mr McCormack, who had been an assistant head at the Nicolson, received a letter from Murdo Macleod, acting director of education, informing him his services were no longer required.

A council spokesman said Mr McCormack had signed a declaration that he would not make any derogatory remarks about his former employers. His name was therefore removed from the supply list because of the article.

This brought an immediate accusation that Nicolson teachers were victims of a "vendetta" from the man whose legal spanner delayed plans to combine the Nicolson with Stornoway's unique Lews Castle vocational school.

Martyn Imrie, a publisher of 15th and 16th century Latin church music, argued successfully before the Court of Session earlier this year that the consultation process over the merger was flawed, and the authority had to rerun the entire exercise.

Mr Imrie, whose wife teaches at the Nicolson claims there was "illegal duplication of senior management salaries". He condemned "the secret role" of Neil Galbraith on the working party set up to decide the schools' future and "the corruption" of the renewed consultation process before it begins.

Mr Imrie's "corruption" claim stems from his argument that the council has failed to comply fully with Lord Maclean's Court of Session judgment. This meant there were "illegal" senior staff appointments and salary payments based on the council's merger decision of October 20 last year which Lord Maclean ruled was flawed.

Mr Macleod strongly refuted all of these claims and said that the council was taking legal advice on Mr Imrie's allegations.

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