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Mary Pitcaithly - The Convener

Mary Pitcaithly

Mary Pitcaithly OBE has worked in local government since 1980 and has been Chief Executive of Falkirk Council since 1998.

After studying law at Edinburgh University, Mary worked in private practice before joining the public sector. As Head of Paid Service for the Council, she leads a workforce of around 7,500, serving a population of 160,000 and has responsibility for a budget of £350m.

Mary is a former Chair of SoLACE Scotland and has represented local government on a number of national bodies, including the Resilience Advisory Board for Scotland. She was also a member of the Arbuthnott Commission set up by the Secretary of State for Scotland and the First Minister to consider boundary differences and voting systems in Scotland.

Mary has been a Returning Officer since 1998 and has dealt with elections to the Scottish, Westminster and European Parliaments as well as Falkirk Council. She was a Depute Returning Officer for the Referendum held in Scotland in 1997 and was the Regional Counting Officer for Scotland in the 2011 AV Referendum. She is currently Convener of the Elections Management Board.

In 2014 Mary was Regional Returning Officer for the Electoral Region of Scotland for the European Parliamentary Elections and then was responsible as Chief  Counting Officer for the Scottish Independence Referendum on 18 September.  This was the biggest  electoral event in Scotland’s history with its largest ever electorate and an unprecedented turnout of  84.6% (3,623,344 votes counted) including a 93.7% turnout of postal voters (20% of votes cast).  The result was accepted and trusted and the whole project widely praised by campaigners, observers and media and many elements of project have  been taken as a model for the delivery of future referendums across the UK 

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