LONG-SERVING Liberal Democrat councillor Paul Edie is to step down at next year’s elections.
He said he did not rule out a return to elected politics in the future, but would be seeking “other opportunities” in the meantime.
Councillor Edie, 51, was convener of health, social care and housing when the Lib Dems were in coalition with the SNP between 2007 and 2012. And he took over as group leader after the party lost most of its seats at the 2012 elections.
He said: “After much thought I have decided not to contest next year’s council elections. By the time those elections come along I will have served 23 years as a councillor.
“I have greatly enjoyed my time in local government and especially working with many amazing people both locally and at the City Chambers.”
Cllr Edie joined the party in 1984 and first stood for the council in 1989. He was elected at the third attempt in 1994, winning a seat on the old Lothian Region shortly before it was abolished, then transferred to the new city council and has represented Corstorphine there ever since.
He said highlights had included the foundation of the Friends of Corstorphine Hill, now one of the largest conservation groups in the city, and his time in administration.
“During those five years we built the first council housing in a generation, slashed homelessness levels and radically improved social care services all while balancing the books.
“I am proud of that work but I feel that I have achieved as much as I can in local government and would now like to pursue some other opportunities while I am still young enough to do so.”
He said he would miss many aspects of the council. But he said: “We don’t seem to have learned from our mistakes as often as I would have liked us to. We seem constantly to have scandals on the go.
“What politicians do is effectively corporate governance on behalf of the electorate. People get elected and suddenly find themselves in charge of a £1.5 billion corporation.
“My advice in parting to the council is: make sure your councillors are trained in corporate governance properly from the get-go because it’s a huge responsibility. It’s something that can be taught and it might keep us out of trouble.”