A MEMBER of the committee which keeps a check on how well Teignbridge councillorsare doing their jobs has resigned, accusing leaders of not taking seriously adamning report by the local government watchdog.
In an open letter to Teignbridge District Council (TDC) monitoring officer PaulWoodhead, published on the ‘Kingskerswell – Have your say’ Facebook group, JaneTaylor, accused council leaders of not accepting the findings of the LocalGovernment and Social Care Ombudsman.
Cllr Taylor, who is a parish councillor in Kingskerswell, accused TDC of notaccepting the ombudsman’s report and described it as a council ‘who are out ofcontrol, who show no remorse for their behaviour and who have no intention ofbeing accountable for their actions.’
It followed an extraordinary council meeting on Tuesday, February 14, to debatethe findings of a highly critical report by the local government watchdog.
The ombudsman said an investigation by TDC into the conduct of South Devon AllianceGroup Leader, Cllr Richard Daws, was flawed and ‘found fault with a number of aspects of the council’s investigation.’
Cllr Taylor, who previously stood as a candidate for ‘Newton Says No’ – thepredecessor to the South Devon Alliance – added: ‘It has become very clear tome that the bullying of anyone who challenges the council is blatant andunacceptable. It would not be tolerated in any other workplace and I want nopart in it.’
But leader of TDC, Lib Dem councillor for Kenton & Starcross, Alan Connettdescribed suggestions he did not take the ombudsman’s report seriously as ‘aload of old nonsense.’
He added: ‘For a start, I apologised as leader of the council to Cllr Daws on the19th of January when the ombudsman’s report was published.
‘I repeated that and we stated that apology in full at the council meeting and itwas very clear, I think if you read the words we accept, in full and withoutreservation, the report and the recommendation of the ombudsman.’
Cllr Taylor also accused Cllr Connett of not accepting the finding of the reportbecause he called for a letter to be written to the Secretary of State ‘challengingthe authority of the ombudsman’s involvement.’
Cllr Connett said that was not true and he was determined to ensure the councilcarried out the recommendations.
‘It suits some people to ignore the inconvenient and focus on their own particularspin,’ he said.
‘That’s been a huge difficulty for the council over several years because the SDA don’tlike to be confronted with the facts.
‘I was concerned that council accepted the recommendations without reservation andwe implement them. So, it’s my leadership that has enabled that meeting tohappen.’
TDC, last week, voted to accept the findings of the report, apologise to Cllr Dawsand for the standards committee to review its processes where necessary.