COUNCILLOR Les Sharp has been elected as the new leader of Clackmannanshire Council.

He was nominated by councillor Gary Womersley, supported by councillor Donald Balsillie, at a full council meeting last week (Thursday).

He will officially take over the role on Monday 3 November and is looking forward to the position.

He said: “These are challenging times in local government, with difficult decisions needed to ensure we continue to deliver important services. We have much to be proud of in Clackmannanshire, with investment made in important areas, and I am determined to carry on the hard work of councillor Womersley to help Make Clackmannanshire Better.” Les was first elected as a councillor for Clackmannanshire West in 2012 and throughout his time has served as convenor of housing, health, social care and as depute provost.

Prior to joining the local authority, he was heavily involved in his community and sat on Menstrie Community Council for 10 years, holding the post of chairperson for around seven of those years.

A job he treats as full-time, he will bring dedication and commitment to the role of council leader.

He said: “It’s something, when Gary announced he was stepping down, I thought long and hard before I decided to throw my hat into the ring as such.

“There’s a huge challenge with the budget and the way that we take things forward and that challenge appealed to me.” Acknowledging there are difficult decisions to be made ahead, he is keen to promote partnership working and is looking to make things better for everyone in the Wee County.

Setting the council’s budget for 2015-16 is going to be a particularly big challenge and is one that Les hopes to tackle creatively, changing the way things work and not simply looking at making cuts.

A key issue going forward will be bringing new industry and jobs into the county.

He said: “I think one thing that I say we need to try and do is employment. We can build houses, we can do things like that, we can change things in social work but employment I think is an area that we really need to get focused on.

We can create that wealth that is needed in Clackmannanshire.” As for what people can expect from him as leader, he said: “That we will try and make things better and will try and work toward getting things better for Clackmannanshire and I suppose make the job mine and take it forward in a way that I see best.”