NO further action will be taken against a councillor after a community group claimed his employment as a security guard prejudiced his public support for a new supermarket.
Durham County Council has investigated the complaints made by Crook Community Partnership against Crook North councillor John Bailey and, while acknowledging he should have shown more respect with postings he made on Facebook, said there is no need for any more action.
The partnership submitted six complaints about Coun Bailey after he made several public comments in support of a proposed supermarket on Queen Street in Crook.
Loading article content
The community group said Coun Bailey works for Tesco at their St Helen Auckland store and should have declared an interest before speaking publicly in support of the scheme as he could stand to benefit if a new store is built in Crook.
But the council’s governance solicitor Clare Burrows said Coun Bailey actually works as a security guard for a firm employed by Tesco and numerous other businesses, meaning there is no interest to declare.
The partnership also accused Coun Bailey of making “disrespectful” and “intimidating” posts on Facebook about the partnership, and called “into account the honesty, integrity and professionalism of the trustees” of the partnership by “liking” a negative post made by someone else.
Ms Burrows found Coun Bailey’s comments showed a lack of respect but said he had already publicly apologised on Facebook for them so there was no need for further action.
The partnership also accused Coun Bailey of undermining their bid for £500,000 left over from the cancelled refurbishment of the Elite Hall in the town and releasing confidential information about their plan on the Crook Past, Present and Future Facebook page.
Ms Burrows said the details he released were already in the public domain, adding: “In a democracy members of public bodies should be able to express disagreement publicly with each other.
“In exercising his right to free speech, Coun Bailey has not attempted to undermine the bid.”
Coun Bailey said: “I speak my mind, if I keep my mouth shut about issues affecting our community then how am I supposed to represent the people who elected me.”
Crook Community Partnership was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.
More Crime News
- Police release CCTV images of suspected North-East shoplifters
- Girl, 16, known to sex traffickers placed in secure accommodation for her own safety, judge rules
- Traffic cops turn rhyme fighters after stopping VW
- Convicted child sex offender warned facing "significant sentence" after abusing eight people from same village.
- County Durham men among trio to go before Kent crown court for violent disorder
- "Sextortion" - webcam blackmail warning by police
- Four arrested after car stopped in Bishop Auckland
- Darlington assault victim left brain damaged and disfigured - but attacker will serve just a year in jail
- Convicted paedophile, 73, goes on trial for historic sexual abuse of two girls
- Teesdale and Weardale motorists warned against tricksters