This lunchtime, Cllr Jon Gilbey has circulated a string of emails to all councillors.
The emails contain claims that a paper for last Tuesday’s Executive meeting (embedded at the bottom of this article) was tampered with by other members without the consent of Cllr Jon Gilbey (the lead Executive member for Finance and PFI).
For the avoidance of any doubt and to ensure no misinterpretation, we’ve included the unedited string of emails below.
It’s of note that Davina Fiore, the Monitoring Officer at Isle of Wight council stated in Tuesday’s meeting that she’d advised Cllrs Priest and Gilbey that they were unable to vote on the paper in dispute as they had declared an interest in one of the items (Rush Close).
From: Gilbey, Jonathan
Sent: 12 September 2014 12:48
To: All Members
Cc: Fiore, Davina
Subject: Capital contingency fund report.
We had hoped not to need to provide further clarification to the statement we jointly made yesterday, unfortunately, due to statements made by fellow councillors and through the media, we feel obliged to confirm:
1/ The Leader dismissed us both from the Group and the Executive at 4pm on Wednesday 10th September 2014;
2/ The attached email of 29th August 2014, regarding the Capital Contingency Fund Report, clearly sets out why we did not take part in the debate at the Executive Meeting on this item, and why we recognised that ‘removal from the group’ could be a consequence of the position we had been put in by others;
3/ If the Leader truly believed that members of his Group were involved in a ‘coup’ he should have, following an open and transparent process, dismissed all those he thought involved rather than justify a decision by ‘reshuffling the Executive’; and
4/ We will be supporting Cllr Blezzard’s call-in of the Capital Contingency Report and, subject to guidance from the Monitoring Officer, volunteer to give evidence to the Scrutiny Committee.
We both deeply regret our colleagues and the IW Council being placed this situation and have, as can be seen from the attached email, sought to avoid this happening.
Many thanks again for the messages of support from colleagues, and the offers of accommodation and seating in advance of the next meeting of the Full Council where, to be clear, as a result of the decision of the Leader to dismiss us from the Group, we will not be sitting with the Group.
Jon and Richard
From: Richard Priest
To: Chapman, Charles
To: Richards, Colin
To: Kendall, Gordon
To: Ian STEPHENS
To: Warlow, Ivor
To: Howe, John
To: John MEDLAND
To: Bacon, Jonathan
To: Gilbey, Jonathan
To: Baker-Smith, Julia
To: Peacey-Wilcox, Lora
To: Hillard, Luisa
To: Fuller, Paul
To: Phil JORDAN
To: Blezzard, Bob
To: Downer, Rodney
To: WhitbySmith, Roger
To: Shirley SMART
To: Stubbings, Stephen
To: Richard Priest
Subject: Capital Contingency fund
Sent: 29 Aug 2014 20:26
Further to recent correspondence regarding the Capital Contingency Fund Report, Jon and I have asked Ian, as Leader, to circulate the following email to all members of the Group, given the position that we have been put in – we can appreciate that Ian has felt unable to do so and we believe, to protect all members of the group, that all members should be aware of the situation.
Again, Jon and I feel that we have been placed in a situation not of our making, and that all members have a right to be fully informed of the situation, and be fully briefed ( as we have repeatedly requested).
Richard and Jon
From: Richard Priest
Sent: 29 August 2014 07:46
To: Stephens, Ian (County Councillor)
Cc: Gilbey, Jonathan; Priest, Richard
Subject: Capital Contingency fund
Please circulate to all members of our group.
Apologies for a further email.
We understand that, despite our wish for all members of the Group to be appraised of the position that we have been placed in, as regards this matter, and that all members to have had the appropriate briefing from Stuart Fraser and from legal services (because of the serious implications we have highlighted) : we now understand that the Capital Contingency Fund paper is to remain on the Agenda for the next meeting of the Executive, despite our suggestion of a pause and an opportunity to reflect on what has happened, how it happened and how to avoid it happening again in the future.
Please note that had the original paper had remained unamended, as Jon as Author approved it, then we would not be in this position – to allay any allegations of ‘parochialism’ the paper would have recognised that Shanklin Lift and The Embankment are potential liabilities (and they are and have been for some time), and that Cowes Enterprise College (something we collectively inherited) is also a liability, but given other factors they would not have been priorities – to remove them from the paper in the manner it was done is not right, in our view, and could have been avoided, and our suggested ‘breathing space’ a reasonable way forward.
Because of the decisions taken by others, we have been put in a position that we will not be able to support the paper being presented (even though we would have supported the original version), and although (because of our commitment to the group) we will not be voting against it, we will not participate in the vote and be absolutely open and transparent in why we will not be voting, because versions of the paper were amended without the authority of the author (and without the knowledge – not the approval, as that would also be wrong – of the Ward member for 2 items and portfolio holder for the third item), and by doing so placed the integrity of the Administration and this Council at risk. NB Had our proposal for a ‘breathing space’ been supported and the appropriate briefing provided, all members would have been able to have taken an informed view as to whether our wish to protect colleagues was justified or not.
We were both voted in to be open and transparent, and act in accordance with the Bell Principles, and we believe we have remained true to this – and we are both comfortable to be held to account for the position we have taken, as I am sure those that have put us in this position will also be comfortable doing.
We both recognise that the Group may wish to remove us from the Executive for the position we have taken, and in doing so remove us from the group: we respect this and would trust that colleagues will be open and transparent in this process, and that any procedure followed will also be open and transparent.
We would again apologise to all colleagues for the position we have been placed in regarding this matter, and although we have tried to suggest a ‘breathing space’ so that all members of the Group can be informed regarding what has happened, it appears from emails that a paper is going forward despite the concerns we have raised.
We have sent this to Ian, in the first instance, as Leader of the Group and have asked him to circulate to all members of the group – as we believe this is in accord with the principles we originally signed up to.
Jon and Richard
The paper in question