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Friday, 23 May 2014

Councillor calls on Council to take action against Council Leader

   

Willaston and Rope Ward UKIP Councillor Brian Silvester is calling on the Monitoring Officer of Cheshire East Council to reconsider her decision not to take action against the Council Leader and the Council over their clear breaches of the Local Government publicity and purdah laws.Please see e-mails below.

Cllr Brian Silvester BA (Hons) (Photo attached)

Willaston and Rope Ward UKIP Councillor

Cheshire East Council

11 Rimsdale Close

Rope,Crewe

CW2 6RS

Tel/fax 01270 567757

Twitter @CllrBSilvester

Facebook Cllr Brian Silvester

From: SILVESTER, Brian (Councillor)
Sent: 22 May 2014 21:40
To: BRADLEY, Anita
Cc: SUAREZ, Mike
Subject: Cheshire East Council: Leader's 'Happy Easter' message

Anita,

             Thanks for your e-mail response. I am very disappointed in your decision. There has been a clear breach of S2 of the Local Government Act 1986 by the Council and Cllr Jones and you are not willing to do anything about it. You state that the apology was issued almost immediately. It wasn't. The press release was issued on the 17/4/14. I complained about it to you on the 24/4/14. You issued the apology on behalf of the Leader on the 29/4/14.I do not think that anything would have been done if I had not complained. (Could you please answer my earlier question  asking if the Labour Group complained and if so when?)It is frankly ridiculous to say that the apology was issued almost immediately when it was in fact 12 days after the offence was committed. The apology, which you issued to all members, on behalf of the Leader, made no reference to the breaking of the law in regard of the purdah period so there has been no apology for that breach of the law. The apology was only sent to members but not the public who had to pay  for the Leader's lawbreaking. Also there has been no apology at all from the Council to the public and to members for their two breaches of the law. We are still waiting for that.

I think it is quite wrong for you to have issued  the apology on behalf of the Leader, when at the very same time you were investigating him for the same breaches of the law that the apology was related to. For you to issue the apology at that time was wholly improper. Also there has been no apology to me because the Communications Manager told me the release had been done by the Leader himself when that was untrue.(See below)

In light of the above I would strongly urge you to reconsider your decision. In view of the fact that this matter is so serious I have copied the Chief Executive into this e-mail. If you do not reconsider I have no choice but to refer it to the Secretary of State.

I would appreciate if you could answer my earlier questions to you namely, 'What does the law say about potential penalties? Could you e-mail a copy of the law that relates to this? Does it involve fines and/or periods of imprisonment? Is it a criminal or a civil offence? Is it a matter that the Police should be informed of? Can a Council be fined for a breach or is it just individuals?

Best wishes

Brian Silvester

From: BRADLEY, Anita
Sent: 19 May 2014 16:45
To: SILVESTER, Brian (Councillor)
Subject: Easter Message

Dear Councillor Silvester,

I thank you for your recent emails in respect of the Easter Message issued by the Council on behalf of the Leader on 17th April 2014.  I apologise for my delay in responding to you due solely to a large volume of emails to deal with on my part.  When this matter was brought to my attention both the Chief Executive and I met with the Leader on 29th April 2014 to discuss the circumstances surrounding the issue of the Easter Message. 

The Message was issued by the Council, whilst there was no intention, as the Leader said in his Apology, technically one could argue that there is a breach of S2 of the Local Government Act 1986 by the Council.  As a result, in view of the discussion with the Chief Executive and the Monitoring Officer, the Leader issued an immediate apology to Group Leaders and all 82 Councillors to ensure that there was no misunderstanding.

In addition, it has been agreed that the Communications Manager will be held fully accountable for all future Press Releases and Statements issued by the Council during any Purdah Period.  In any event, for information, the Council is now in the process of recruiting a permanent Communications Manager who will be given the same instruction.

In view of the circumstances of this incident and the fact that an unequivocal apology was issued almost immediately, I do  not intend to take any further steps in relation to this matter.

You asked what the sanction was in respect of such matters.  It is possible for the Secretary of State to issue a Direction to a Local Authority where it is in breach of the Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity.  I believe taking into account the actions taken by the Council to mitigate the potential breach and importantly avoiding further publicising the matter that any such Direction would be unlikely.

If you would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to telephone me.

Regards

Anita Bradley

Head of Legal Services

and Monitoring Officer

Westfields

Middlewich Road

Sandbach  CW11 1HZ

Tel: 01270 685850

The silliest thing about this is his apology was reported along with the Easter message so it went out twice

 

Residents urged to express their objections at Willaston planning appeal

  I am calling on Willaston residents to attend the planning appeal for 146 houses on land off Moorfields in Willaston.

Interested parties are invited to attend the Inquiry at Crewe Alexandra Football Club, Gresty Road, Crewe, CW2 6EB on Tuesday 17th June at 10.00am and, at the Inspector’s discretion, to give their views.(See below) The inquiry is scheduled for 4 days

Usually the Inspector will set a time-table on the first morning of the Inquiry for residents to speak. Residents are asked  to attend to show their strong objections to this application for houses in the Green Gap. All residents who wish to speak should e-mail Helen Skinner at PINS to let her know quoting the appeal reference (APP/R0660/A/14/2211721). The e-mail address is as follows helen.skinner@pins.gsi.gov.uk I have already asked for a speaking spot so I can voice the strong objections of my constituents.

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