This received from the Councillors who alleged misconduct by Cllr David Pugh – Ed
Please find a statement issued today by Cllrs Bacon, Lumley and Welsford, in respect of the statement issed by Cllr Pugh regarding the Ethical Standards Committee verdict in the case of ESC69.10
“There were three parts to our complaint.
Firstly there was the actual swearing incident itself. Any consideration of this was blocked by legal advice from a Council Officer.
We feel the advice was flawed as it was based on a judgment in another case which has subsequently been criticised and therefore, in our view, an investigation into this matter was blocked on erroneous grounds.
It remains the case that the videos of Councillor Pugh have accumulated over 17,000 hits which will have caused damage to the reputation of the Council.
It was concerns about this initial incident that led to information being discovered about further behaviour at the Valentine Ball as well as subsequent discussions at the Council Offices in the days following 12th February which suggested an apparent attempt to control media coverage of Cllr Pugh’s outburst.
In respect of these two matters we note that much of the behaviour identified in our complaints was found to have taken place, however this behaviour has been interpreted not to constitute a breach of the Code of Conduct.
The report presented to the Assessment Committee found that there was contact between Councillor Pugh and the Legal and Communications departments and that some ‘media management’ took place but determined this was acceptable.
We have not been happy with the way in which the investigation process has been conducted and, as far as we are aware, at least one witness has already made a formal complaint about the process.
We also consider that the process has revealed a disturbing politicised and protective attitude amongst some senior council officers in respect of the current Council leadership. It was fear of this that prompted our initial request that the complaint be dealt with independently off the Island. We feel our initial fears have been shown to be justified.
Overall we still feel that our complaint was justified but that it has been considered and rejected by a flawed system. Perhaps this is why the system is due to be changed in the near future.
At the end of the day our complaints were brought about by the attitude and behaviour of Councillor Pugh and derived from his undeniably offensive outburst on 12th February and his refusal to apologise for that. We note that he has still not felt it necessary to apologise.
If he had done the decent thing and apologised to Carole Dennett it is unlikely there would have been much further interest in the incident and this investigation would not have been instigated. Unfortunately we anticipate he will display this same attitude in his response to the outcome of this investigation.”