Councillor’s funding ban extended to end of term

Councillor Bob Brierley
Councillor Bob Brierley

A WIGAN councillor will have his contact with council staff restricted after being found guilty of six breaches of the members’ code of conduct.

Following an unprecedented run of standards hearings, Coun Bob Brierley faces a number of sanctions having acted in a “bullying and intimidatory manner”.

As part of the sanctions, the Hindley Green independent is to have his Brighter Borough funding allocation suspended for the rest of his term.

He will also be asked to undergo behaviour training and a request for him to apologise for his actions has been submitted by the standards committee.

The council has also taken the unusual step of ordering the councillor’s self-penned biography to be removed from its website.

Speaking to the Evening Post, Coun Brierley said the sanctions were “nothing new” and described the taking down of his biography as “real kindergarten stuff”.

He disputes the findings of the panel and has already indicated he will refer the verdicts to judicial review.

Coun Brierley added: “I have already offered to only go through (legal director) Steve Normington, I’m happy to do that.

“I won’t be saying sorry, what have I got to say sorry for? They didn’t give me a chance to argue my case.”

Council officials have maintained Coun Brierley was given every opportunity to present counter evidence for each of his hearings but chose not to.

The council said Coun Brierley’s emails will continue to be screened by an officer before they are sent on. And he will be given a designated officer to contact by phone should he need to contact the local authority on an urgent matter.

Paul McKevitt, deputy chief executive of Wigan Council, said: “I’m disappointed that Coun Brierley continues to disregard his peers’ recommendations. Complaints have come from employees, contractors, partners and members of public.

“We work well with the majority of councillors, but his actions continue to tarnish the reputation of other councillors and the council as a whole.”

Hindley Green residents will be able to access Brighter Borough funding for community projects by contacting the council directly until the end of Coun Brierley’s current term of office in 2016.