We attended the full council meeting that was held last night to approve the investigation into the chief executive’s pay rise. The agenda was as previously published, the meeting lasted ten minutes, the voting was unanimously in favour of the recommendations, and it was agreed that the investigation’s terms of reference should be made public. They have already been placed on the council’s website – https://bit.ly/2kuLapo (Sorry, Facebook readers, you might not see this link yet)
Few comments were made from ‘the floor’. Most notable was Cllr Bates’ contribution, when he said that at the current time there was no suggestion that anyone was guilty of anything – but that it was important to discover the facts. Secondly, that there was a duty of care to staff and councillors. He added that the council shouldn’t be diverted from its other important activities.
We agree with these words. But we can’t help feeling that, on the basis of what information has been made available (and what has NOT been made available) so far, a jury would reach a ‘guilty’ verdict. And we also think that it’s important that a duty of care is observed, and that all due processes followed. Not only out of human decency but because any claim of unfair dismissal would be most unfortunate.
We’ve not been able to study the terms of reference in any depth yet. But our initial reaction is quite favourable. We don’t like the mention near the end of ‘eg the Exceptional Payments Policy’ as that might bias the answer, but so far that doesn’t concern us too much.