Chief executive Tim Pilsbury asks Standards Committee to look into Cllr Melton's leaked email
By John Elworthy THE bitter divide between some senior councillors and the chief executive of Fenland District Council will spill into the open today. As expected, chief executive Tim Pilsbury has made an official complaint about Councillor Alan Melton,
By John Elworthy
THE bitter divide between some senior councillors and the chief executive of Fenland District Council will spill into the open today.
As expected, chief executive Tim Pilsbury has made an official complaint about Councillor Alan Melton, portfolio holder for finance, following a leaked email over the future of leisure services in Chatteris.
Mr Pilsbury has written to Ian Hunt, legal services manager for the council, asking him to report Cllr Melton to decide if he's broken the councillors' code of conduct.
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In his email Cllr Melton called for the setting up of a special task force to examine options for a leisure centre in Chatteris but said it should exclude certain officers.
The email was circulated privately by Cllr Melton to a handful of colleagues, including Councillor Steve Garratt, portfolio holder for leisure, who later passed it to deputy leader Fred Yeulett.
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Cllr Yeulett, who had not been included in the circulation list of councillors of the email which had been sent, privately, to Council Leader Geoff Harper, later took a copy of it to Mr Pilsbury.
Now Mr Pilsbury wants Cllr Melton investigated and the first indications of what the standards committee thinks can be expected later today.
An extra item on the agenda for today's meeting is expected to include a call for a preliminary investigation by the initial assessment sub committee. Mr Pilsbury believes "negative references" to the capabilities of his officers is in possible breach of the code of conduct.
He also believes Cllr Melton's suggestions that the leisure centre could be obtained through a section 106 condition (effectively a community gain from the granting of planning permission for new homes) is also in breach of local planning protocols.
Mr Pilsbury believes that, in exceptional circumstances, the standards committee could pass on making any decision, referring it instead straight to the Standards Board of England for a determination.
However Cllr Melton is adamant he has done nothing wrong, and that the leak of a private and confidential email by the deputy leader is untenable.
Politically the row will move on from today to Wednesday when a group of Cllr Melton's supporters on Fenland District Council will press to have Cllr Yeulett excluded.
If that fails to happen, there is a possibility not only Cllr Melton could leave the Tory group but take with him a growing number of colleagues who are becoming disengaged from the main political party.