Council leader in 'bullying' row

By Nigel Walrond   |   Sports Editor   |
Monday 18th July 2016 10:30 am
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COMPLAINT: Councillor Gethyn Davies lodged a complaint against council leader Cllr Patrick Molyneux. ()

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THE leader of the Forest of Dean District Council Patrick Molyneux faced a secret disciplinary hearing after allegations of ‘bullying’ from a fellow Conservative councillor.

Tidenham Councillor Gethyn Davies submitted a complaint against Cllr Molyneux (Hewelsfield and Woolaston) after he allegedly put pressure on him to resign his seat.

Leaked correspondence claimed that Cllr Molyneux called for Cllr Davies to resign because ‘he had put his family first before council’ when missing the budget meeting in February.

A standards committee member told The Forester that the meeting to discuss these claims was held behind closed doors at district council offices in Coleford on April 29.

However according to Cllr Molyneux the complaint was withdrawn.

Council Leader Molyneux said: “The complaint made by Cllr Davies was withdrawn and he did tell me he did not wish to make an official complaint.

“It was potentially all a minor misunderstanding that got out of hand and all of what Cllr Davies wrote in his complaint did not come to anything.

“It is rather sad that somebody is informing the press of these hearings and I shall be raising it with the council.

“I believe it’s mischief making from someone who should know better and it should be taken with a pinch of salt.”

The district council has refused to release documents relating to the hearing despite their own code of conduct procedure stating all disciplinary decisions are to become a matter of public record.

District Councillor Andrew Gardiner (Ind, Lydbrook and Ruardean), who had also been subject to a disciplinary hearing in 2014, said that full details of his case had been made readily available to the press.

“The day after the meeting was held all the exempt information was distributed to the local press.

“On that occasion there was no problem in releasing the exempt and restricted papers at all.”

“If you make a comparison with my case. What’s the difference?

A council spokesperson said: “The Freedom of Information Act 2000 provides an absolute exemption from disclosure in cases where disclosure is not allowed in law.

"The Council is of the opinion that this exemption applies and is therefore not prepared to release the information.”

The Forester has disputed this decision and is currently awaiting a resolution.

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