This grandly titled Determination Hearing has the ring of Nero fiddling while Rome burns

SO, the Fenland District Council Standards Committee has convened its grandly titled Determination Hearing Panel to consider a complaint of a breach of the code of conduct. In the normal course of events, and as a newspaper with a long tradition of trac

SO, the Fenland District Council Standards Committee has convened its grandly titled 'Determination Hearing Panel' to consider a complaint of a breach of the code of conduct.

In the normal course of events, and as a newspaper with a long tradition of tracking the probity of democratically elected councillors, we might be expected to regard this occurrence as a testimony to efficacy of relatively recent accountability procedures within local government.

Sadly, on this occasion, we believe those who voted to bring about this hearing have lost the plot.

We return to this particular hearing in this column simply because the complaint referred to, and which incidentally was dismissed out of hand when it went before Cambridgeshire County Council, is so lacking in merit that it defies logic.


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The thousands of pounds of Council Tax payers money being spent in pursuit of pin pointing who knew what, when and where about financing leisure facilities in Chatteris is little short of scandalous- and we suspect there are some even within the standards committee itself who believe likewise.

Councillor Alan Melton is the man complained of and town councillor Chris Howes is the complainant, and what a time the latter is having.

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This week he complained about the make up of the panel that will hear the complaint, threatened to publish 4,000 leaflets attacking Cllr Melton, and took delight in forwarding an offensive cartoon he's compiled which he would like us to regard as satire.

Meanwhile the Standards Committee believes the council should find up to �15,000 for what it terms an external 'ethical audit' which senior officials argue could be done internally at little or no cost.

With Council Tax payers struggling to pay their bills, fearful of possible rises, worried about potential cuts to service, this absurd 'Determination Hearing Panel' strikes us as akin to Nero fiddling whilst the rest of Rome burns.

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