Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting MG NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
‘Rude’ councillors to take urgent lessons
10:40am Friday 15th March 2013 in News
RUDE councillors have been urged to brush up their act after a series of complaints.
Ledbury town councillors have been advised to take urgent lessons on how to conduct themselves in public office.
Some town councillors have been accused of rudeness and there has been a series of complaints to Herefordshire Council.
Now the authority’s standards panel has recommended the entire town council should attend refresher training on the code of conduct.
The call was discussed at a meeting of the full Ledbury Town Council last week, when Coun Keith Francis asked: “Why have we been singled out for special training?”
Coun Allen Conway said: “I would like to say, no thank you!”
Town clerk Karen Mitchell said the extra training would not be compulsory but that the standard’s panel’s recommendation was “not open for discussion – with no redress, no appeal”.
Coun Annette Crowe, who reported fellow councillor Tony Bradford to the standards board for an alleged rude outburst towards a member the public, for which he was found guilty said: “It does seem as if there have been a number of complaints aboutthis council.
“If there is a problem with the conduct of this council, this is a chance for people to refresh their knowledge.”
Deputy mayor Coun Terry Widdows proposed the council should accept the proposal of the offer of extra training, but it should be up to individual councillors whether they attend.
However, this was defeated on the vote and there were no further motions.
Coun Bradford didn’t attend the meeting; but speaking afterwards said of the proposal: “It discredits the whole council, a council that balances its precept every year. We are probably the best council in the county for this. We need to know how the standards board came up with this proposal.
Give us the facts.
“What I care about is freedom of expression: to give a view on an item, on an agenda, in a public meeting.”
John Jones, Herefordshire Council’s monitoring officer, said: “There have been a number of standards complaints aboutthe behaviour of councillors at Ledbury Town Council over the last few years, which has indicated there is a lack of understanding of the requirement of the council’s code of conduct.
“The suggested training is not about singling out any individual, but rather ensuring standards are maintained to a high level and hence reduce the number of standards complaints made.
“If all councillors understand the standards and code of conduct, there’ll be fewer complaints.”