I have just emailed all councillors to inform them of the hearing next week and to confirm that it is open to the public. The text I sent them is shown below.
As you all know, a hearing by the Standards Commissioners was scheduled for 20/21/22 September in Kilmory. This relates to a complaint made against me by Messrs Loudon, Sneddon, Milne and Hendry.
In August, this was changed to a one day hearing on Tuesday 20 September starting at 1100. There will be no witnesses called at this hearing. A no case to answer legal argument has been submitted by my solicitor and the day will be used to debate this. Dates have been pencilled in for a 2 day hearing in October in the event that there is no agreement on our legal argument next week. The meeting next week is open to the public.
That’s all I am able to say at this stage but the case papers will be made available by the Commissioner for Ethical Standards on Tuesday 20th. These will be extensive but will be available for downloading from the URL below. We did our best to try and avoid a hearing altogether because the case papers are likely to create significant bad press for the council.
I have already told you that 3 separate attempts were made to settle this to avoid a hearing, all 3 attempts rejected by the complainants. As these attempts to settle the matter were not part of the formal submissions to the Standards Commissioner, I attach the correspondence on this now for your information.
The attachment giving details of the attempts to resolve this complaint can be found here: correspondence-between-cllr-michael-breslin-and-the-complainants
You must have really offended them Michael. What did you do? Question their parentage? It has to have been really serious to warrant them wasting our funds in trying to punish you, and to refuse to negotiate. All will out on the 20th though, and we can see just what it is they are so bothered about. If it is not a serious matter, or the case is dropped, then it is time for resignations from the four. We cant have them wasting time and money to satisfy their egos.
I’m getting a sense the complainants are a rather thin-skinned bunch. No one seems to be claiming that they have been openly insulted which would probably be grounds for such a hearing.
If this is down to a councillor being overly forensic and/or critical in scrutinising the actions and/or decisions of Council officials with honed opinions of their own self-importance the process of representative democracy in Argyll & Bute will be in danger of taking a severe knock.
From reading the email trail there is a clear case of double standards being applied. They are way too entrenched to drop this now and it is not in the CEO’s psyche, and although it would be the much braver move, he just can’t.
In many ways you have already won, too many people who have questioned the council have experienced the same behaviour, so it’s the council culture that’s the focus here, not whether or not you personally offended them or over stepped a boundary. A stressed ‘leadership’ becomes hyper vigilant, reactive and defensive. So they jump on everything you do or say and they become über critical mainly through fear.
The Standards Commission are also now under scrutiny, it will be very interesting to see how they deal with this. The whole process is designed to obfuscate from the real issues which were Castle Toward, Low Pay Care Workers and the Harbour debacle.