In Aberchirder, after a campaign led by William Auchinachie, a poll produced a majority of votes in favour of having a police burgh. A new governing body, known as Police Commissioners, was duly elected in the following year with professionals, shopkeepers and tradesmen providing eight of the nine members, who unanimously chose William Auchinachie to be Chief Magistrate.
The minute book of the Police Commissioners recorded that their first meeting was held on 2 January 1890, with the following elected members in attendance: Wm Auchinachie, Chief Magistrate; Thomas J Anderson, Junior Magistrate; Wm Smith, Junior Magistrate; Alexander Lumsden; Dr Whitton; Alexander Bonnyman; James Grant; John S Stewart; Joseph Murray.
In the following months: a number of officials were appointed: Adam Maitland Wright, Procurator Fiscal; James Dawson, Clerk to Police Court; John Ritchie, North St, Surveyor or Inspector of Works, Collector of Customs and Sanitary Inspector; James Copeland, merchant, Burgh Treasurer & Collector (replaced in 1893 by Alex Gardiner, printer); James Minty, tinsmith, Water Manager.
After the first election three of the nine Commissioners retired each November. In the first election in 1890, votes received for the three vacancies were: Joseph Murray, merchant, Middle Street, 33; Charles Bodie, merchant, Middle Street, 32; Alex Bonnyman, carpenter, Middle Street, 30; Charles Paul, shoemaker, Middle Street, 26; the first three being elected.
Evidence that low turnouts are not a 20th and 21st Century phenomenon!
After the election of the following year the Commissioners – now including Douglas Bethune Leask, banker – were allocated to a number of committees (* = convenor): Water – Auchinachie *, Stewart, Bodie, Smith; Finance – Auchinachie *, Whitton, Smith, Leask; Sanitary – Auchinachie *, Leask, Stewart, Whitton; Lighting – Stewart *, Smith, Grant, Bodie; Streets – Leask *, Bonnyman, Grant, Murray, Stewart.