HC Deb 24 May 1894 vol 24 cc1175-6
MR. BEITH (Inverness, &c.)

I beg to ask the Secretary for Scotland if he is aware that upon a Petition from the Magistrates and Councillors of the Royal burgh of Forres, acting under "The Burgh Police (Scotland) Act, 1892,"for the appointing of an auditor to audit the burgh accounts, the Sheriff of the Counties of Inverness, Elgin, and Nairn, passed over the Sheriff Substitute of the district, who usually makes such appointments, and nominated his son, Mr. James Ivory, chartered accountant, Edinburgh, for the office; if the Sheriff may, if he chooses, make a similar appointment in each of the 10 burghs within the counties of his Sheriffdom, and may, in the event of any dispute as to the auditor's salary, fix what the amount shall be; and whether, in view of the fact that the Royal burgh of Forres is 200 miles distant from Edinburgh, and that there are many local men fully qualified and ready to do the work, he will take steps either to cancel what has been done, or to prevent its recurrence when the auditor comes to be appointed next year?


This was the first appointment under the Burgh Police Act of 1892, but similar appointments have in the past been made by the Sheriff and not by his substitute. The Sheriff has complete discretion in appointing an auditor. There was a provision in the Burgh Police Act of 1862 giving the Sheriff power to settle the auditor's remuneration in case of dispute; but that Act is repealed, and there is no corresponding provision in the Act of 1892. The Sheriff informs mo that, in his opinion, no fully qualified local men were available. With regard to this statement, I can only say that the Town Council, on the ground, among other considerations, that there were competent local professional men available, passed a unanimous vote protesting against the action of Sheriff Ivory in appointing his own son who is resident in Edinburgh. It is difficult to believe that, in face of such a vote, the Sheriff will persist in the appointment.


Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the desirability of introducing a Bill transferring the power of making these appointments from the Sheriff to the Local Authorities?


said, that was a matter which he had under consideration.