Council meeting – 25th July continued

Click here to listen to the audio recording of the full council meeting

Continued from Council meeting – Monday 25th July (Click here)

The next item was not on the agenda, but the Chairman asked for a motion to ‘agree to have a Statement from the council sent to the press’. However, after discussions with Ian Dewar, it was agreed that the statement could in the first instance be read out at the meeting.

Asked by a councillor if this statement had been produced by the Chairmen who had consulted ‘some’ of the parish councillors. The Chairman agreed that this was the case. The statement was intended to be sent to the press earlier, but was held up because the Chair had not followed procedure by consulting with the full council, he had only spoken to a select group. The statement was then read out by the Clerk.

“The report was published by a panel set up for Melbourn Parish Council by CAPALC. The panel was simply an advisory body with no judicial official status. The panels only remit was to investigate the complaint by a sub-contractor to Melbourn Parish Council. Despite having a very clear definite brief, the panel took it upon themselves to look at a whole range of other unrelated issues.

“Consequentially, the report they produced attacked and defamed a number of people who had nothing to do with the original complaint. The panel has levelled vague accusations of wrong doing without talking to the people’s they have defamed and without allowing them to defend themselves. Many people’s testimonies have been summerly dismissed because the panel deemed they were unreliable, without giving any justification.

“The professional standing of people was also called into question, again without any evidence beyond the panels prejudice. Melbourn parish council has examined this report in detail and the vast majority of councillors found it to be ill founded, poorly conducted and fundamentally floored. Consequently, a substantial majority of the parish council rejected this report and have done so twice. Melbourn parish council is therefore of the opinion that this report should not be published in its current state as it will cause a lot of hurt to innocent people and in many cases be liables.

“This is not a public document.”

Following the reading of the above Statement, Ian Dewar asked the Chairman of the council if Cllr Douglas de Lacey, Chairman of the grievance panel could have the right to reply. The Chairman agreed.

Cllr de Lacey began by saying he did not have a copy of the statement in his public documents, so he was only able to pick up a few of the points that were read rather briefly, but very well.

“The first point that I note was your comment that ‘we picked up other unrelated issues’. We picked up those issues because they were highly relevant to the way in which the complaint had been formulated and the reasons behind that complaint.

“May I just take one moment to correct a statement that was made earlier. There was no reference of Charles Arnold Baker in the report. I mentioned at my presentation of the report that the council didn’t seem to have known that Arnold Baker existed, because there were so many activities that were going on that were completely contrary to the law and to what Arnold Baker said. These were therefore highly relevant issues that we picked up and we picked them up, partly to help the parish council protect itself against a very damaging action which could certainly be brought because of the activities of certain members of the parish council.

“Another phrase that I picked up was ‘vague accusations’, well that itself it seems to me a very vague accusation. … I would love to know which part of our report you regard as vague accusations. We were very specific in what we said and in all the accusations we made – if that is the right word, we provided evidence. Evidence from people who gave evidence to us, evidence from written reports that were given by certain members of the council and others.

“You say that we queried the professional standing of people, again I’m not quite sure which part of the report you are referring to, but I am certainly not aware that we questioned the professional standing of anyone without evidence and without deciding that the professional activity of various people was clearly brought into questions.

“The vast majority on the council may indeed have found it inadequate. I think it very unfortunate that the recommendations we made, the very many recommendations we made have been ignored by the council. It has already been said this evening, that this council needs to get its act together, our recommendations were an attempt to help the council to do that and it is I think fairly clear if the council is simply going to reject the recommendations we made, that it has little intention of getting its act together, because we tried to show them the way.”

The next part of the meeting began with a discussion between a councillor and the Chairman of the parish council.

Councillor: “Regarding your statement you made here, which you propose for release, you state in that the vast majority of councillors found that the report to be ill founded, poorly conducted and fundamentally floored and yet the only statement I could find from the council was that we had made a proposal to reject it and two of us voted to approve it and the rest voted to reject it, so I cannot see any justification in your statement about ill founded, poorly conducted and fundamentally floored. Could you please comment?”

Chairman: “The basis of the investigation was the Melbourn parish council’s complaints procedure. It says very clearly in the Melbourn parish council’s complaints procedure; it is for employees of the council.”

Councillor: “I’m sorry Mr Chair what I’m asking here is that the vast majority of councillors found it to be ill founded, poorly conducted and fundamentally floored?”

Chairman: “Well that’s the ill-founded bit. It should not have been brought.”

Councillor: “Poorly conducted?”

Chairman: “Yes.”

Councillor: “The vast majority of councillor, found it poorly conducted?”

Chairman: “We did find that some evidence which we presented was summerly rejected. I was asked to and did produce character testimonials, I think I had 23. Some of them where from fellow councillors, some of them were from business people in the village, some of them were basically people who know me. All 23 were rejected.”

Up to this point there had been no reference to the person named in the document, with the exception of one of his fellow councillors naming him in public at the full council meeting on the 27th June. But the above and further into the meeting the person is clearly identified.

Councillor: “Could I ask the Chair of the investigation committee, seeing it has been raised that testimonials were asked for, the comments you had on the testimonials? The chair has suggested that you had rejected them outright. Could the Chair of the panel comment on that please?”

Cllr de Lacy: “No we certainly didn’t reject them outright. We looked at them very carefully. We noticed some interesting discrepancies among them. For example, the Chairman in his interview said that the testimonials had been asked for by somebody else, where some on their testimonials said that Councillor Tulloch had asked me to write about a particular issue that they shouldn’t have actually known about. And therefore we felt that some of them could not be given much weight.”

Another councillor stated: “To me I feel upset that just because somebody is not employed, but was a sub-contractor or whatever it was, this is still a person who was treated in a particular way by a person from Melbourn parish council. The other point and I did bring it up when we were in camera, the person who the grievance report is against, actually admitted that they had done some of the things they were accused of doing, they actually said yes they did. Can I just check with the Chair of the panel (Cllr de Lacey), from your memory that the person actually admitted to doing a number of those things?”

The answer from Cllr de Lacey was “Yes”

One former councillor then went on to point out that: “When this was under discussion the whole of the parish council, I think at that stage Councillor Crosby and Councillor Tulloch had probably left the room, but all of those who were there, we all agreed unanimously to ask Mr Dewar to set the panel up. At that discussion no one ever suggested that it was not the proper procedure to be followed. The picking apart has come from people who don’t like the result.”

A member of the public asked “if it’s ok for the council to bully employees of a company with no redress at all? You have been accused of bullying an individual and your hiding behind the fact that they were not employed by the council and that was ok.”

Ian Dewar then stated that: “The point of issue here is very simple, the actions led to the person losing their job. It’s a pecuniary interest, the councillor concerned should not have gone down that road. Now they resigned but it is just the same affect, the situation was intolerable they left, they had a loss of earnings. It constitutes a pecuniary interest when it comes up as a base within the panel. And because of that the person who had supposedly committed the offence should never have been near it and neither should anyone who were directly related to the person and there are council members who should have also not been part of the process.”

Asked what can be done about this situation, Ian Dewar went on to say: “If the members concerned don’t want to take note of this, I did say in the report what’s been done I believe is a pecuniary issue, and it’s a matter for the criminal authorities i.e. the Police. It’s not my job to go tell tails on the council, theoretically it should be the Clerk to report it, but I think she might lose her job the way things are. You guys a shouting your heads of one of you guys need to do it.”

Further on in the procedure there was an interruption by a member of the public when she said “our Clerk is being abused … not only are you being rude, I just heard what you said to her.” The Chairman responded with “I just told her I was recording.” The Clerk then stated “he told me he’s recording because I’m not making many notes.”

There were further discussions between residents and councillors with suggestions that all councillors resign and put themselves up for re-election. The Chairman went on the say, “the meeting has gone on, we ain’t goner get to the end of this meeting. You’ve placed in the hands of the parish councillors a fairly stark choice. We can take the nucleus option and walk away, some of us may wish to be re-elected others may not. What I would like to do is allow my fellow councillors time to reflect on that option and then by the next parish council meeting we will do whatever we choose to universally adopt.”

Without further discussion and without consulting other councillors the Chairman ended the meeting.


1 comment

  • What is the connection between the unelected Council, the Land the HUB was built on and the land formerly the gardens & car park of the only PUB on the Cambridge end of the village? perhaps someone can tell us ALL?

    Formerly known as the Star, the Old Elm Tree, & lastly called Herbies, there is a known fact the Council REFUSED several times, all planning for an improved kitchen & or did nothing to help keep this amenity alive, closing last Xmas! they mus be prefering the 9-5 Mon to Sat, Ego trip the HUB?

    I must admit the last landlord said the owners of the NOW developed land upped the Rent to an eye watering sum, and it is rumoured that one ex councillor apologised for the councils actions!
    The now partly developed site has seen SO far sales of 4 houses totalling £2 MILLION+ and there are some that are awaiting completion of the sales so £4 million that is so far??

    The Now sad and empty Pub with its fire or burglar alarm still ringing as one walked past a relic of a bygone era remembered by many as a live bustling pub just a few years ago NOW the only amenity at this end of the village is the Kebab van which the car park seems built for!

    On another point on my last visit back, I noticed one LARGE bungalow at the end of Norgetts Lane had been raised to the ground, demolished in just a few days where the smaller one next door, being remodelled for some 2 or 3 years now it seemed to have had difficulty in getting a roof and other small changes on an extension passed by the powers that be!
    BUT in the large “ex bungalow” the companies house check show some 20 companies are housed there!

    Aint it good to be a councillor?

    Regards An ex Resident

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