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Complaint fees at council cost taxpayer £70k

BALSALL Common Parish Council has racked up an incredible £70,000 in complaints fees against one of its councillors – and it’s YOU who is footing the bill.

BALSALL Common Parish Council has racked up an incredible £70,000 in complaints fees against one of its councillors – and it’s YOU who is footing the bill.

The fee accounts for 66 per cent of Solihull’s entire spending on code of conduct complaints, a total of £109,000 from 2009, while Solihull Borough Council made up just 13 per cent.

Leader of Solihull Council, Coun Ken Meeson, said: “It seems completely unfair that local people in other parts of Solihull have to pick up costs in complaints made against particular parish councillors which have no part in.”

Balsall Common Council took Councillor Patrick Nash to tribunal after a dispute began between him and Parish Clerk Lesley Dury and “unpleasant emails went back and forth”.

He was found to have brought his office into disrepute after breaching the Code of Conduct for bullying the Clerk, failing to treat her with respect and causing confidential information to be disclosed. He has now been suspended for two years.

“It’s very regrettable because the whole incident has been a waste of tax payers money and shouldn’t have taken place,” said Parish Council Chair Judy Lea. “It is very sad but there’s nothing we can do.”

Coun Nash also lost his appeal against a complaint by Jyoti Jaspal following a dispute over her use of Chadwick End Village Hall as a nursery. The adjudication panel agreed with Solihull Standards Committee’s decision that he had breached two code regulations.

Coun Ted Richards, (Con, Castle Bromwich) member of the Standards Committee, called the cost “regrettable”.

“We’re obviously concerned... with the amount of expenditure on complaints from parish councils.

“Parish councils involved in making the complaints should pick up the expenditure – not tax payers in other areas of Solihull.”

But, with the Government’s impending Localism Act removing borough council’s requirement for a standards committee, Coun Richards was hopeful that parish councils would be left to foot their own complaints’ bills in future. Coun Nash was unavailable for comment.

 

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