A TORY councillor has claimed the "tail is wagging the dog" at Moray Council.
Marc Macrae (Fochabers/Lhanbryde) says that the administration is being run by officers rather than by elected councillors.
The remarks follow on from the withdrawal this morning of all eight Tories from the administration group of Moray Council.
Cllr Macrae said: "This was in no way an easy decision to make as we were, and still are, committed to working hard to deliver the best outcomes for the people of Moray.
"Time and time again it has been pointed out that in Moray the tail is wagging the dog, something that Audit Scotland have noted on numerous occasions, recognising that Moray Council has been officer-led and not councillor-led.
"We have tried hard to provide that strategic direction, with little appetite from Independent colleagues to press for real and significant change – a change which is in many ways long overdue.
"It would seem that we are the only councillors prepared to make the difficult decisions to restructure the local authority from the top down, to protect keys services and ensure that a balanced budget is delivered to provide a sustainable future.
"A major challenge facing Moray is the financial settlement from the SNP Government.
"Millions of pounds have been slashed from our income in recent years. It is a very great shame that local SNP councillors have refused to join us in urging Nicola Sturgeon to give Moray a fair deal.
"In May 2017 the electorate delivered a strong message by electing Scottish Conservative councillors, with in many cases overwhelming first preference votes, demonstrating that the people of Moray wanted real change. A change that we have tried hard to deliver."
The Tories have claimed the catalyst for quitting the council was a decision made last week to advertise two senior management post.
Each post commands an annual £90,000 salary.
Cllr Macrae then drew attention to comments made in April last year by the SNP’s co-leader in Moray, cllr Graham Leadbitter, calling for a review of the council’s management structure.
He continued: "The Conservatives are not fighting, we are asking the questions about how we bring major change and transformation to the council.
How we look to review management and how we look to share services.
"Both of these things the SNP wanted. Yet now they attack us for them."