Saturday, 13 February 2010

Four Councillors Referred to Standards Board for England

The Lincolnshire Echo reports today that for members of West Lindsey District Council have been referred to the Standards Board for England.

The, recently elected, Leader of the Council, Cllr. Adam Duguid, Conservative (Market Rasen Ward) together with colleague Cllr. Malcolm Parish, Conservative (Welton Ward) and Independent Group Leader Cllr. Bernard Theobald, Independent (Wold View Ward) and Cllr. Stuart Kinch, Independent, (Torkesy Ward) face allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

The Standards Board has confirmed it is assessing a request to investigate allegations against Cllr. Theobald, Cllr. Duguid, Cllr. Stuart Kinch and Cllr Parish. The cases of the four men were referred to the national board by the district council's own standards committee.

Spokesman for West Lindsey District Council, Geoff O'Neill is reported to have confirmed to the paper that the complaints had been made by the Liberal Democrat Group and outgoing Chief Executive Mr. Duncan Sharkey, who it is understood had an increasingly strained relationship with Cllr. Theobald during his leadership of the authority.

As previously reported in the paper, Cllr. Duguid admitted meeting a council officer who had been suspended as part of an on-going inquiry into fraud and mismanagement allegations made against the authority's planning department. Leader of the Opposition, Cllr. Reg Shore, Liberal Democrat (Stow Ward) later alleged at a full council meeting that both Cllr. Parish and Cllr. Theobald were also present at this meeting. The Liberal Democrat Group at West Lindsey will want to make as much hay from this matter as possible in preparation for local elections on Thursday, 6th May 2010. They are fighting to regain control of the authority, which they lost two years ago, and have been sliding backwards, with two by-election defeats and one resignation, ever since.

The second issue which may require an investigation concerns a controversial planning application submitted by Cllr. Theobald to develop a house on land owned by himself, Cllr. Kinch and their respective wives.

West Lindsey District Council Leader Cllr. Duguid is reported to have said he was not surprised the issues were being investigated by the Standards Board and accepted he had made a mistake.

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