THERE was a theme to councillor questions this full council with the departure of chief executive Ian Westley in the spotlight.
Councillors Jamie Adams and Stephen Joseph tabled questions to Thursday’s (Dec 10) meeting of full council about advice sought from legal firms, member behaviour and relations with officers and corporate restructure.
Council leader Cllr David Simpson answered the questions stating advice was sought from Eversheds law firm to ensure all members were clear on the on the standards expected on confidentiality around Mr Westley’s departure, and not saying anything that “could be construed as denigrating the previous chief executive’s reputation.”
Cllr Adams argued that this had already happened, with reference to a corporate restructure that had said not to have happened, but was then later corrected by the leader, with members being told it had taken place.
Reference was made to a Local Government Association peer review report which highlighted concerns about “inappropriate member behaviour” which Cllr Adams said was “serious sounding of a culture of bullying and intimidation towards officers of this authority.”
Cllr Simpson strenuously denied there was bullying, saying it was not a situation he recognised.
“During my time as leader, together with the monitoring officer, I have written to remind members of their duties and obligations under the code of conduct. I personally cannot control their behaviour and reactions but in my leadership role I try to set a standard of respect and courtesy that I hope all members aspire to,” he added.