Council Officer Offered Compensation For Remark

The Town Hall

A Council staff member has been offered cash compensation for a comment made during a Council meeting.

But even though ratepayers money was used, Councillors haven’t been officially told why the payment has been agreed, what was said to warrant it and who is getting it.

Councillors were baffled in May when the former Vice Chairman Marian Bennett read a statement apologising on behalf of the Council for comments, which had upset an employee during a debate last July.

The webcast recording of that July meeting didn’t reveal any reaction that indicated anyone felt slighted.

Members wanted to know who gave authority for the statement, as only Councillors could do that and they hadn’t.

Radio Scilly lodged a freedom of information request asking who gave authority for the apology. The Council still won’t tell us, so we’ve complained to the Information Commissioner.

On Tuesday night, it emerged that the upset staff member was offered a sum, thought to be £500, after they went to a mainland employment tribunal. Councillors expected a report on the issue on Tuesday and were unhappy to learn that the direct request from Councillors had been rejected.

Committee Secretary Peter Laverock said the Cornwall Council legal team, whom, our Authority pays had written to the Town Hall to decline the request.

The Council Monitoring Officer, Philip Hygate, wasn’t at the meeting and Peter Lawrence, Director of Finance couldn’t provide more information.

Meeting Chairman Amanda Martin said she was angry that members’ questions appear to have been sidestepped “in a summary way” and she insisted that Officers provide a report for the next meeting.

In the meantime the identity of the Officer receiving the compensation remains under wraps.


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