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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More on the Welsh Councillors' Code of Conduct

I have raised on a number of occasions the way that the code of conduct for Councillors in Wales is being used to settle old scores or to make a political point, most recently at the last Public Accounts Committee.

This morning's Western Mail contains another example of a political disagreement being turned into a pseudo-disciplinary matter. They say that a Plaid Cymru Councillor in Caerphilly has threatened to report a Labour opponent to the Ombudsman for criticising the council’s decision to invest millions in an Icelandic bank that failed:

Councillor Nigel Dix has received a letter from Caerphilly Council’s monitoring officer following a complaint by Mayor James Fussell.

The letter said Mr Fussell objected to a letter written by Mr Dix to a local paper in which he claimed Plaid had ignored warnings about investing in Icelandic banks.

Unless Mr Dix makes a public apology, his opponent says he may take the matter to the Ombudsman, alleging the Labour councillor has broken the local government code of conduct.

Mr Dix said he had no intention of apologising because there was evidence the council had been warned.

He added: “Plaid Cymru are far too sensitive. This is all part of the general political cut and thrust which we should be able to engage in without threats of being reported to the Ombudsman.”

Lindsay Whittle, leader of the Plaid Cymru group on Caerphilly Council, said: “Councillor Dix knows the Cabinet plays no part in any investment decisions no matter how many times he tries to cloud the issue.”

This sort of disagreement is the meat and drink of political discourse. is there really any need to waste time and public money by involving the Ombudsman?
The code of conduct needs looking at again.
Is the ombudsman the right person to adjudicate.
If it is do we not need an ombudsman who has experience of the top level of local government who will understand.
It would also help if councillors stopped reporting each other except for actions for personal, relatives or friends advantage
Peter didnt the true wales luminary nigel dix win his council seat after he complained about sitting councillor kevin etheridge to the very same ombudsman?.....the words 'total hypocrite' spring to mind when considering nigel dix bleatings on this matter!

Leigh Richards
That’s correct Leigh. But in fairness Kevin Etheridge had claimed over 15000 in care allowance and admitted to the Western Mail he should not have.

Let’s not muddy the waters here.
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