Councillor’s code of conduct breach

Bolsover District Cllr Duncan Kerr.
Bolsover District Cllr Duncan Kerr.

COUNCIL chiefs have publicly criticised one of their councillors for claiming their leader perpetuated a climate of fear and that the local authority has a very poor relationship with employees.

Bolsover District Council revealed how a Standards Committee found that Green Party member and Bolsover District Cllr Duncan Kerr’s claims were unsubstantiated and without foundation. The panel also dismissed Cllr Kerr’s claims that the council has a poor relationship with employees.

During a council meeting last Wednesday, council chairman Cllr Ken Walker publicly censured Cllr Kerr following the Standards Committee findings by stating he had brought the authority into disrepute with allegations made in the council chamber, his newsletter and elsewhere.

He told Cllr Kerr: “Your statements referring to the leader were inappropriate.

“In attempting to sensationalise issues and misrepresent the actions of the council you have brought the authority into disrepute and have breached the code of conduct.”

He added: “You have put your own political ends before your duty to your office, to this council and to the public.”

The council stated Cllr Kerr had also made unfounded links between the council in his statements and Doncaster which has had proven cases of corruption.

The Standards Committee, which acted on a complaint, decided the council should publicly censure Cllr Kerr in respect of his failure to comply with the code of conduct by bringing his office or authority into disrepute. It also stated comments concerning Cllr Watts were inappropriate.

Cllr Jim Clifton said Cllr Watts has “110per cent support” from the other council members.

Cllr Kerr, who declined to apologise, said: “The moment you say anything critical it can be challenged as disrespectful. I don’t regret or retract anything but I accept the findings of the panel and the censure.”