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Bonkers Blog February 2016

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There is no criticism of Councillor Maxine Fothergill in this blog.

13 February (Part 2) - Not another complaint!

The blog below is one of several relating to Bexley Councillor Maxine Fothergill and Bexley Council’s Code of Conduct Committee. This note aims to make it clear that the events reported between December 2015 and the Summer of 2016 whilst accurate reflections of various events, disciplinary hearings and sanctions brought against Councillor Fothergill they are individually insufficient to explain the whole story.

Two members of the Bexley-is-Bonkers team met with Councillor Fothergill at a secret location on 16th September 2016 where she explained to us what had really happened. She was able to convince us that she was the victim of a miscarriage of justice.

There were compelling reasons why Councillor Fothergill should be believed. It seemed likely that the Tory High Command in Bexley had taken revenge on her because Councillor Fothergill had reported one of their associates to the police for theft.

Councillor Fothergill requested that the explanatory note prefixed to relevant blogs (which first went on line a few days earlier) be further strengthened so that readers are fully aware that reported events, whilst accurate at the time, did not reflect her innocence and that Bexley Council’s charge of misconduct and “gaining a financial advantage for herself” was malicious.

This is a modified version of the note Councillor Fothergill asked to be placed here.

Barnbrook BaconIt seems to be the day for complaints. Three in one day. One from an illiterate who accused me of publishing an email without the author’s permission, then I was called a you know what for not believing that Bexley Council had IRA connections when no evidence had been forthcoming, and finally one from Michael Barnbrook who said I had not mentioned his complaint about Councillor Cheryl Bacon. I told him that I had but he said there were two.

So for those who still have the stomach for pursuing the Councillor Fothergill business here is another of Michael’s attempts to tie Bexley Council in knots.

It seems to me he is handing Councillor Fothergill grounds for appeal against the Misconduct verdict on a plate. It’s another well argued case that Bexley Council has ignored its own rules. Don’t they always?


Dear Mr Moore,
I wish to register a formal complaint against Councillor Cheryl Bacon.

My complaint relates to her failure to comply with the Members’ Code of Conduct Complaints Sub - Committee Rules of Procedure at a meeting of the Members Code of Conduct Complaints Sub - Committee held on 10th December 2015.

The Rules of Procedure 3. Conduct of the Hearing state:

3.1 Subject to paragraph 3.2 below, the order of business will be as follows:

(d) Chairman’s introduction of Members of the MCSC, the Monitoring Officer, the Independent Person, the Investigating Officer, the Complainant, the Subject Member and their representative.
(f) to receive representations from Members of the MCSC, the Monitoring Officer, and/or the Subject Member as to whether any part of the hearing should be held in private and/or whether any documents (or parts thereof) should be withheld from the public.
(g) determine whether the public/press are to be excluded from any part of the meeting and/or whether any documents (or parts thereof) should be withheld from the public/press.

3.2 The Chairman of the MCSC may exercise their discretion and amend the order of business, where they consider that it is expedient to do so in order to secure the effective and fair consideration of any matter.

I was present at the Sub Committee meeting on 10th December 2015.

The Chairman, Cheryl Bacon, did not introduce the Members of the MCSC, the Monitoring Officer, the Independent Person, the Investigating Officer, the Complainant, the Subject Member and their representative.

The Chairman, Cheryl Bacon, did not receive representations from Members of the MCSC, the Monitoring Officer and/or the Subject Member as to whether any part of the hearing should be held in private and/or whether any documents (or parts thereof) should be withheld from the public, prior to excluding the public from the meeting.

The Chairman, Cheryl Bacon, knowing that the Subject Member, Councillor Maxine Fothergill and her representative, Councillor June Slaughter, were present in the building, started the meeting without their attendance, thereby failing to give them the opportunity to make any representations as to whether any part of the hearing should be held in private and/or any documents (or parts thereof) should be withheld from the public/press.

The Chairman, Cheryl Bacon, exercised her discretion to amend the order of business without appropriate grounds that it was expedient to do so.
A Freedom of Information Request No. 2754396, requested the reasons why Councillor Bacon considered it expedient to amend the order of business of the meeting on 10th December 2015.

The Council has failed to provide any reasons and none are contained in the minutes of the meeting held on 10th December 2015.

The decision by the Chairman, Cheryl Bacon, to exclude the public from the meeting, prior to any introductions and representations, was an arbitrary decision made by her alone and therefore a material failure to follow procedure, as set out in the Rules of Procedure for the Members Code of Conduct Complaints Sub - Committee.

Rule 6.3(a) of the Rules of Procedure states that an appeal may only be raised on grounds including a material failure to follow procedure.

By failing to follow procedure, Councillor Cheryl Bacon has given Councillor Maxine Fothergill, the Subject Member, grounds to successfully appeal her conviction, grounds that would not have been available to her, had Councillor Bacon carried out her role of Chairmen, according to the correct procedures.

I consider this to be serious case of Misconduct by Councillor Cheryl Bacon, not only because she has given Councillor Fothergill good grounds of appeal that she would not have been entitled to, but because she also exceeded her authority by excluding myself and other members of the public from the meeting before she was legally entitled to do so.

It is also apparent from the minutes of the meeting, that the decision to exclude the public and press from part of the meeting, was made prior to the meeting and not during the meeting itself, which is a serious breach of procedure.

I am therefore requesting a full investigation into the professional conduct of Councillor Bacon, as Chairman of the meeting and should any investigation result in disciplinary proceedings, I am prepared to attend those proceedings in order to give evidence.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Barnbrook

 

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