The principal of Aberdeen College has been forced into an embarrassing public defence of its decision to appoint his wife a vice-principal.
Rae Angus, a former union activist whose robust management style does not appeal to many lecturers, wrote to staff before Christmas justifying the move. Staff were unaware that Alison Hay, who is also director of human resource management and development. had been made one of two vice-principals at the college (motto: "when you want to know more").
Mr Angus wrote that "a number of colleagues have raised questions about the use of the term vice-principal". He explained that the functional titles of Ms Hay and Roddy Scott, the other vice-principal, who is director of finance and administration, "do not now adequately reflect their wider responsibilities".
The principal added: "The title 'vice-principal' more clearly identifies Mr Scott's and Ms Hay's relative position when they are with colleagues from colleges with much more elaborate (and costly) management structures than our own."
Aberdeen, whose total income last year was just over Pounds 24 million, making it the largest further education college in Scotland, has prided itself on a lean structure. Senior management costs are more than 70 per cent down on seven years ago, Mr Angus claims.
He pressed home the point by emphasising that Ms Hay and Mr Scott have not received a pay rise or an increase in benefits.
Strike votes, FE Focus, page 30