Friday, 29 August 2014

Former Council Chief Executive dies

Bernard Devine, a former Chief Executive of North Ayrshire Council, has died.

Mr Devine, who lived in West Kilbride, was 68 and passed-away last Wednesday (August 27th).

One of Scotland’s longest-serving local government Chief Executives, Bernard Devine came to Ayrshire in 1986 to take up the top post on Cunninghame District Council.  It was Mr Devine who oversaw the transition from Cunninghame District to North Ayrshire Council in 1995/96.  A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said, “It was a challenging period for Scotland’s local authorities, which were going through reorganisation for the second time in two decades.  Bernard oversaw a raft of changes that came with the transfer of responsibilities from the old regional councils to the new unitary authorities.  Through unsettling times he confidently led North Ayrshire Council through the reorganisation and into the next millennium.”

Mr Devine held the Council’s most senior post until he retired in 2004.  A former colleague said, “He was a quiet and caring man.  His door was always open.  You could never disturb him. Staff could walk straight into his office and discuss anything that was bothering them.  He had a great ability to put people at ease.”

Elma Murray, who has been Chief Executive at North Ayrshire Council for the past five years, worked with Bernard Devine in the early years of the authority.  Ms Murray said, “I was saddened to hear the news that Bernard had died.  I had worked with him in the Council’s IT department in Irvine between 1995 and 1998.  I have very fond memories of him.  He was someone that I was able to learn a lot from.”

The Council Leader, SNP councillor Willie Gibson added, “I know from our longer-serving members of staff that Bernard was a respected figurehead who was always fair with people.  My condolences go out to his family during this time of deep sorrow.”

For the Labour Group, Cllr Peter McNamara said, “I will never forget the help that Bernard gave me.  He was a quiet, unassuming man but he was very diligent in carrying out his duties as Chief Executive.  It was a joy to work with him.”

Mr Devine is survived by two sons and a daughter – James, Kenneth and Susan.  The family was struck by tragedy some years ago when elder daughter Anne died suddenly at the age of 29.  Mr Devine’s wife, Alice, died in 2006.

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