THE OFFICIAL at the centre of a £160 million scandal in Renfrewshire has walked into a six-figure top job at a neighbouring council. 

Steven Quinn is set to take up the £130k a year chief executive’s post at East Renfrewshire despite his role in the Dargavel Primary row. 

The authority said he had been hired after a “rigorous” selection process where he "stood out from what was a very talented field."

News of his appointment came as the Dargavel Primary Parent Council said they no longer had confidence in the civil servant and a number of his colleagues. They also called on the political leadership of the administration to stand down. 

In a damning letter, the parents said they would no longer be co-operating with the local authority, “due to the actions of some Elected Members and Council Officers.”

The council said the problems with the school meant “many residents of Dargavel will be forced to do the same as Steven – move to a new Council area – but one with suitable school provision, and adequate leadership.”

READ MORE: Dargavel school blunder could cost taxpayers in Renfrewshire £160m

We revealed in November that the brand new £18m school building should have been able to accommodate 1,100 pupils, but due to an “error” by officials, it can only hold 430.

The authority announced in February that they now expect 1,500 children to need to use the school by 2033. As a result, they now need a new building with capacity for around 800 pupils. 

Last week, in a paper sent to councillors, education chiefs at the cash-strapped authority admitted that the cost of fixing the problem would be far more than previously thought. 

The cost of the new building will be somewhere between £42m and £45m while extending the local secondary, Park Mains High School, to accommodate another 400 pupils will be between £27m and £30m. 

To fix the problem, councillors have agreed to “prudential borrowing” to be paid back at £4m a year over 40 years. 

That means costs could reach as much as £160m. 

There are also fears that the final bill could rise again, with both the Parents Council and Community Council warning that simply extending the existing secondary may not be enough to accommodate the children in the village. 

At a council meeting on Thursday, officers said a new secondary would cost another £70m-£75m.

Meanwhile, the council has now implemented a cap on new P1s, with parents forced to enter a ballot to secure a place at their local school. 

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf pushed on £75m Dargavel Primary scandal

In their letter, the parent council said the local authority had not kept their promise to engage openly and transparently. 

They also criticised the SNP administration for not asking the Scottish Government to assist with the cost of fixing the mistake. 

“It appears they would rather hope for magic, rather than ask for help,” they said. “ This arrogance will impact RenCo’s ability to deliver other services. We cannot condone that.”

They said raised concerns about the SNP Council Leader Iain Nicholson attempting to politicise the issue after he criticised Labour councillors for PFI debts. 

“I think you should go and look at PFI and ask how much every single year we pay private companies for these schools that you put into debt and put on the credit card,” he said during Thursday’s council meeting. 

“This was not relevant to the Dargavel issue and was a perfect example of attempting to score political points,” the council said. They said he should consider his position and “give an apology to the members of the Council, and residents of Bishopton and Dargavel.”

Neil Bibby, the Labour MSP for West Scotland said “It is little wonder that parents have lost all confidence in the leadership of Renfrewshire Council. 

“This is a needless and scandalous waste of public funds and I have no doubt many taxpayers across Renfrewshire will also have lost confidence in council bosses.

“No one has so far taken responsibility for this fiasco and the woeful response since. Parents are right. It is time for those at the top of council including the Council Leader to consider their position."

READ MORE: Council left with £69m bill after too small school blunder

A Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said: “We understand this is a very worrying situation for Dargavel parents and carers and we wish to continue to work with the Parent Council to progress a solution as quickly as possible. We fully acknowledge and understand their frustration.

“Once the problem was identified, we acted immediately to put the right governance in place, commissioned an external review to fully understand and learn from the historical circumstances and have apologised for not addressing community concerns earlier.

“None of the senior officers who contributed to the significant school roll error remain with the council, and the current team are fully committed to working with the Parent Council and getting it right for the children and families of Dargavel and Bishopton. Officers are progressing the delivery of new school buildings at a significant pace.

“We have full confidence in our plans to increase primary and secondary provision to meet the revised, projected demand, and remain committed to a strategic review of secondary provision in the area.”