Councillor facing two more charges

Coun Bob Brierley outside Wigan town hall on his way to a council meeting
Coun Bob Brierley outside Wigan town hall on his way to a council meeting

A WIGAN councillor has been found to have breached the elected members’ code of conduct in a fourth successive hearing.

Coun Bob Brierley is facing six charges relating to his behaviour and is said to have acted in a bullying or intimidatory manner toward council employees, volunteers and members of the public.

The latest hearing, held at the town hall this week, found he had again brought his office into disrepute.

Council officials said Coun Brierley had behaved in an “intrusive” and “disrespectful” manner toward a resident who was involved in a dispute with a neighbour.

The complainants for this allegation - who requested to remain anonymous - told the committee the councillor had visited one of their places of work and requested that their supervisor contact him “as he wished to speak to him”.

A council statement read: “The panel felt that in becoming involved in a heated exchange in a public place and in raising his voice to one of the complainants, Coun Brierley had brought his office and the council into disrepute.

“It was concluded that although provoked by the behaviour of the complainant, Coun Brierley’s actions fell below that expected of a councillor and as such the committee felt that the public expect, and should receive, certain standards of behaviour.”

The often outspoken independent member for Hindley Green has boycotted the hearings, calling for them to be conducted by an independent panel rather than the Labour dominated standards committee.

He has also informed the council of his intention to refer all six verdicts to judicial review, while the standards panel has adjudged each time so far to continue with proceedings in his absence.

The series of conduct investigations, which are unprecedented in the borough’s history, have attracted controversy after the councillor walked out of the first hearing when his requests for proceedings to be open to the public and for him to be able to make recordings were turned down.

All four hearings so far have taken place in private due to concerns about identifying witnesses or complainants.

The remaining two cases will be held over the next fortnight and are understood to concern similar allegations.

Sanctions will be imposed following the final hearing, the council has said.

Coun Brierley has maintained the allegations against him are part of a “smokescreen” in an attempt to prevent him from being “an effective councillor for the people of Hindley Green.”