"Many of you will have read about budget proposals that we as councillors are discussing, as told to the media by Councillor (Walter) Wilson.
"Councillor Wilson’s comments in the media are unfortunate, as it will have spread fear and alarm amongst staff and members of the public. Everyone in Moray is aware of the dire financial situation the council is in, and I make no secret of the fact that everything possible is being discussed in order to explore how the budget for 2018-19 can be balanced and essential services maintained.
"Every council department which is affected by any of our proposals will be informed in the next two weeks, and the possibility of redundancies will be openly discussed with staff.
"All the administration group’s proposals will be in the public domain for consultation in December and I will welcome all comment, however I must remind everyone that the council does need to make savings and should the savings proposals we are discussing be withdrawn, other savings proposals would have to take their place.
"I find it most disturbing to have to lead the council during a time of such severe financial difficulties; no councillor enjoys having to make reductions in service. These service cuts are forced upon us by national governments and they are certainly not the fault of the people of Moray.
"Within the constraints we are facing we will do everything I can to protect jobs and services.
"I apologise for the alarm caused by Councillor Wilson’s words, over which I had no control".