A councillor has recently resigned from a town council in the Staffordshire Moorlands as he believes that codes of conduct have been broken by some councillors within the council. Jamie Evans, former councillor at the Cheadle Town Council, resigned from his role last week after disputes occurred in the council’s most recent meeting on Monday, July 4.
A councillor has recently resigned from a town council in the Staffordshire Moorlands as he believes that codes of conduct have been broken by some councillors within the council.
Jamie Evans, former councillor at the Cheadle Town Council, resigned from his role last week after disputes occurred in the council’s most recent meeting on Monday, July 4.
Mr Evans told the Cheadle & Tean Times: “Something clicked when councillors were belittling each other.
“You’re there to support the town, not belittle councillors and bully them and make them feel rubbish.
“At the end of the day, we are on the council to help the town, not stir stuff up and I don’t think people actually realise what goes on in the chambers.
“The council is a shambles.”
Mr Evans also claimed that he was bullied by some of his fellow councillors, with being called a ‘thief’ on one occasion when he was setting up a Community Toy Bank.
Following the allegations of bullying, Mr Evans claims to have made complaints about certain individual councillors within the council to the Town Mayor, the Town Clerk and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) but nothing, he states, has ever been done.
Mr Evans claims that among the codes of conduct which, he believes, have been broken, they include:
2.1 Provide leadership to the authority and communities within its area, by personal example and
2.2 Respect others and not bully any person.
2.5 Not misconduct yourself in a manner which is likely to bring the authority into disrepute.
Mr Evans went on to tell the Times & Echo about a number of specific occasions which he believed saw certain councillors break some of those council’s codes of conduct.
We have contacted the four councillors Mr Evans has named – two have replied stating that they will not comment as the issue is “under review,” while the other two, at the time of print, had yet to respond.
The Times & Echo also contacted Cheadle Town Mayor, councillor Sue Walley, Cheadle Town Clerk Dave Mullington, and also SMDC, regarding Mr Evans’ allegations.
Cheadle Town Mayor, councillor Sue Walley, said: “All councils have a Code of Conduct. As councillors we have a right to expect that these codes are upheld.
“As Mayor I have a duty to respond to allegations of misconduct made to me, by discussion with the Town Clerk and the individual’s concerned.
“If these matters cannot be resolved then councillors are advised to refer to the Monitoring Officer at SMDC.”
Town Clerk, Dave Mullington, also responded, stating: “Cheadle Town Council has an adopted Code of Conduct for its members which encompasses the National Standards expected within Local Government.
“Alongside that we have adopted a number of policies which are primarily designed to support councillors, but also to identify conduct which would not be acceptable in terms of behaviour.
“There is a protocol in place which then determines whether expected conduct has been breached, and this is usually done by way of referral to the District Monitoring Officer for investigation.
“There are some matters that are referred back to the town council, however these tend to be more minor issues that can be resolved through internal discussion.
“Complaints are treated with confidentiality, and resolutions are often reached through compromise.
“Having said that, the process for dealing with complaints has become very limited since the abolition of the Standards Board in 2012, and sanctions taken against Councillors for Code Breaches often amount to very little.
“Any matters reported to myself as Clerk are initially discussed with the Mayor, and a decision is taken as to the appropriate method of investigation and resolution.”
He added: “As it stands, I have not received any complaints or allegations from former council member Jamie Evans since his resignation.”
A spokesperson for SMDC told us: “The operation of Cheadle Town Council is a matter for that council and it would be inappropriate for the district council to comment.
“Any formal complaint received by the district council regarding the conduct of the elected members of Cheadle Town Council will be considered in accordance with the district council’s agreed arrangements for dealing with standards allegations under the Localism Act 2011.”
When asked if SMDC had received a formal complaint regarding this issue and the previously mentioned issues, the spokesperson told us: “No, the council hasn’t yet received a formal complaint.”
Moving forward, Mr Evans states that he aims to continue to volunteer within the community of Cheadle. He said “I’ll still be there for Team Cheadle and continue with my volunteering work, I just can’t be in those chambers anymore.
“I thought that when I signed up to the council, we would get stuff done but it’s like banging your head against a brick wall.
“The residents deserve better.”
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