Mary Pitcaithly

Chief Counting Officer

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. In 2014, she undertook the role of Regional Returning Officer in the European Parliamentary Elections. She is currently Convener of the Electoral Management Board.


Sue Bruce

Depute Chief Counting Officer

As Chief Executive of the City of Edinburgh Council, Sue is the main point of contact between the Council’s elected members and its staff. She is responsible for carrying out the Council’s agreed policies and for overall operational management of its 18,000 employees and just under £1 billion budget.

Sue also acts as a returning or counting officer in local, Scottish, UK and European elections and referendums.

Sue began her local government career with Strathclyde Regional Council in 1976. She was Chief Executive at both Aberdeen City Council and East Dunbartonshire Council before she took up the same post at the City of Edinburgh Council in January 2011.

In 2013, she was awarded the Chief Executive of the year in the Hr NETWORK National awards.

Additional team members

Secretary to the EMB: Chris Highcock
Administration: Ros Wilson
Referendum Project Governance: Dougie McGregor
Project Manager: Alison Clyne
Senior Referendum Officer: Louise Unwin
Referendum Guidance: Anne Laird