Booing and two-fingered gesture allegations among councillor code of conduct complaints being investigated in East Devon

An allegation that an East Devon councillor booed a speech made by someone in a meeting is among local government code of conduct complaints under investigation.

Other accusations being looked into by the district’s monitoring officer include a representative reportedly making a ‘two-fingered’ gesture at a complainant.

Claims of derogatory and defamatory comments in emails and the sharing of medical details are also being probed.

Details of the complaints, made since May 1 last year, and the status of the resulting investigations have been revealed in report to next Tuesday’s East Devon District Council Standards Committee.

It states that seven code of conducts complaints have been received.

One was dismissed, another was upheld, and the remaining five are still under investigation.

A further 16 complaints about non-code of conduct matters were also received in the timeframe.

THE SEVEN CODE OF CONDUCT COMPLAINTS:

  1. A parish councillor behaved in a rude and inconsiderate manner by bursting into and thus interrupting a private meeting being held by the complainant and other councillors. The complaint was upheld as a breach of paragraph 4a – not showing courtesy and respect – and satisfactory resolution is currently being sought.
  2. A district councillor was accused of breaching the code as a result of their behaviour and attitude towards a complainant during a telephone conversation, but no breach of the code was found after an investigation.
  3. A town councillor made derogatory comments about another councillor in an email which was circulated to a wider audience. The completed complaint form has not yet been returned.
  4. A district councillor made a two-fingered gesture to the complainant during a meeting and shared medical details of complainant via email to other members. This is currently being investigated by the monitoring officer.
  5. A district councillor booed the speech that the complainant made at a meeting. This is currently being investigated by the monitoring officer
  6. A parish councillor made defamatory comments in an email thread accusing the complainant of stifling debate, and the complainant felt bullied and humiliated as the email was copied to all members. The monitoring officer is still making an initial assessment of the claim
  7. A parish councillor made defamatory comments in an email thread accusing complainant of deliberately fuelling aggressive behaviour. The monitoring officer is still making an initial assessment of the claim

The code of conduct outlines the behaviour expected of councillors when acting in their official capacity and how they should have regard to the ‘Principles of Public Life’.

These are selflessness, honesty/integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, personal judgment, respect for others, duty to uphold the law, stewardship and leadership.

£9million Knowle deal sealed as developer takes ownership of former district council HQ in Sidmouth

About Author