Outspoken councillor guilty again

Councillor Bob Brierley
Councillor Bob Brierley

A COUNCILLOR who sent a barrage of intimidating emails to a town hall employee has yet again been found guilty of breaching Wigan Council’s conduct code.

In the fifth of six disciplinary hearings centring on the behaviour of Hindley Green independent Bob Brierley, a standards panel once more upheld the claims against him in his absence.

Coun Brierley has boycotted the sessions, calling for them to be conducted by an independent panel rather than the Labour-dominated standards committee.

The meeting, held in private to protect the identity of the complainant and witnesses, heard how Coun Brierley sent a number of intimidating emails to the complainant.

In one message, addressed to all councillors and senior members of staff, he called for the complainant’s suspension after Coun Brierley’s Brighter Borough funding application was refused.

Applications need to be submitted for approval before the money is allocated. The hearing was told Coun Brierley had failed to follow the procedure and instead sent a bill totalling £1,322.00 after the work, to drop some kerbs, had been completed.

Under Brighter Borough criteria, schemes must benefit the wider community. As this scheme would only benefit a small number of private households, the application was unsuccessful.

The complainant claimed they felt threatened by Coun Brierley’s emails and as a consequence no longer has direct contact with him.

The panel found Coun Brierley guilty of intimidating behaviour and therefore being in breach of the code. A decision on sanctions was deferred until the final hearing later this month.

David Hope, GMB Union rep for Wigan, said: “No member of staff deserves to be threatened, bullied and intimidated in their place of work. Council workers come to work to make a difference to the communities they serve and deserve to be treated with high levels of respect and dignity.

“We welcome the findings of the panel and hope Coun Brierley will radically change his behaviour towards council staff as a result.”

Coun Brierley has already informed the Council of his intention to refer all six verdicts to judicial review.