West Norfolk councillor says his complaints weren’t properly dealt with
The councillor who was deemed to have bullied a colleague by a standards panel has claimed his own allegations of wrongdoing have not been properly investigated.
Patrick Rochford said he was considering taking his case to the Local Government Ombudsman following the publication of the findings against him earlier this week.
And he has now released details of complaints that he says he lodged with the council alleging misconduct, and which he claims have been ignored.
He alleges the authority has been aware of his concerns and wants him to be “discredited so that I can be silenced”.
However, the council says no formal complaints have been lodged by him.
The complaint the Lynn News has seen, which was lodged last month, appears to contain derogatory language used against councillors, officials and members of the public by Sandra Squire – the councillor Mr Rochford was deemed to have bullied – and includes a claim that a senior councillor was seen in a sexual liaison with an officer at its Lynn offices.
Unlike the tweets that were the subject of the complaints against him, Mr Rochford’s allegations appear to be largely based upon the content of privately sent messages.
Meanwhile, there have also been questions about whether the standards hearing which concluded Mr Rochford had breached the code of conduct was properly convened.
Following the publication of the panel’s decision on Monday, a former councillor contacted the Lynn News, claiming the authority’s constitution required a preliminary meeting of the whole standards committee to take place before the hearing.
He also argued the panel should have ordered the removal of council-owned equipment from Mr Rochford’s possession, rather than recommending that sanction, under its rules.
But officials say no preliminary meeting was required.