Scilly Councillors Outline Concerns Over Chief Exec Meeting

The Town Hall

Five Councillors have written to the Council chairman to share their concerns that the chief executive, Phillip Hygate, may be suspended from work while investigations into allegations surrounding his conduct are undertaken.

Members will meet to discuss employment issues relating to Mr Hygate tomorrow morning.

Cllrs Marian Bennett, Julia Day, Chris Hopkins, Brian Lowen and Fred Ticehurst wrote to say they have no knowledge of the allegations, but they believe there’ll be, “some kind of disciplinary process” and they want assurance that proper procedures are being followed.

We understand the word disciplinary isn’t being referred to in the meeting paperwork.

Cllr Bennett told Radio Scilly there have been questions over whether the chairman and vice chairman of the Council have the authority to take action without it being initiated in a Council meeting.

In the letter, the five members state that the Council has a duty to its staff and to taxpayers. They warn that failure to conduct business appropriately could result in heavy financial burdens.

They want assurance that independent legal advice has been taken in respect of any action, as they don’t want the Council’s reputation to be damaged at a time when the authority is already under the spotlight.

There are complex and statutory procedures laid down for dealing with Council chief officer employment matters, adopted mainly to prevent political interference in Council’s that are controlled by political parties.

Julia Day told us she didn’t wish to expand on the comments in the letter as, “this is a very sensitive matter and as a community we are in a very delicate place right now.”

 



12 Responses to Scilly Councillors Outline Concerns Over Chief Exec Meeting

  1. Liz Martland October 30, 2012 at 8:16 am

    This seems to be the only means we can openly express our concerns, frustratrations & opinions on this subject. No meetings behind closed doors, nothing dubious. As tax payers there must be a better way to ‘have our say’. I have no experience in handling local politics, I’m sure I’m not alone. This community needs help now.

  2. sarah October 29, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    Is harrassment and making threats to a member of council staff following correct procedure I dont think so !

  3. Todd Stevens October 29, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    If they really want to make our lives better then give him the boot. Whatever the cost!!!

    I didnt see these 5 councillors writing to anyone regarding a complete lack of procedure over the Wilby debacle.

    He who lives by the sword……………………………

  4. Fran Grottick October 29, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Richard Thompson
    You say that the payrise to the CEO still didn’t bring the CEO’s
    pay close to that of the former Head Teacher.
    You are right, it made the gap even wider.

    The former H/T earnt far less than than the CEO

  5. Pat Hicks October 29, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Richard i can assure you nearly all the councillors are trying to do the right thing, and i would like to thank councillor m bennett for all the work she has put into the transport link. it is much appreciated. i just wish she and others could see the wider picture
    as to what is going on over here. …

  6. Fred October 29, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    I agree, we don’t know what’s going on, so let’s suspend the CE and undertake a proper investigation.

    I don’t see why this should be treated differently to any other staffing issue, deal with it outside of Full Council please, otherwise it’s 21 members going round, and round for four hours.

  7. Richard Thompson October 29, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    Actually – they were quite right in awarding payrises and took the appropriate measures to ensure that what they were doing was in line with nation wide procedure – the ombudsmen sanctioned the payrises (which still didn’t bring the Chief Executives pay close to that of the former headteacher, it is worth noting.) If the general public really want the Chief Executive to face disciplinary action they should encourage and ensure that councillors do it properly – otherwise he would be well within his rights to take action himself. Those councillors who only act in order to garner favour with the electorate are the ones who should be laughed at for being incompetent and not following proper procedure. There has been so much hatred incited on these pages and through these comments – but it still amazes me that hot headed, foolish people who comment on here would jeopardise what they want most. I commend the councillors who go through proper procedure and are brave enough to stand up and let the public know what is going on. There is so much talk of a cover up – then when councillors try and inform the public they are hauled over the coals. They just happen to be the same councillors taking proper action for our transport links and they are the councillors working so hard to make life genuinely better for islanders – not those making rash moves to secure the votes of an ill informed electorate.

  8. Rincewind October 29, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    OK let me get this straight.

    It’s ok for senior council officers not follow process and procedure when dealing with school affairs, for example, threatening to suspend the Headmaster when they had no power to do it, intimidate Julie Hicks, etc etc (there is a long list but we’ve heard it all before)

    However, when it comes to the CEO some misguided councillors and now trying to quotes rules to people!

    It’s quite simple really. The truth is coming out, worms are wriggling and no doubt heads will roll.

    Hopefully Councillor Bennett will look at her statement and realize what she’s said – then again pigs might fly.

    Nobby your comments are spot on.

    • Nobby Nobbs October 29, 2012 at 7:54 pm

      Thank you Rincewind,
      Your absolutely right , it would seem that it’s one rule for the ceo and and another rule for the rest of us.
      Cllr Bennett’s statement is in the circumstances unbelievably hypocritical and shows a complete lack of understanding of what has been going on at the town hall for the past 5 months.

      For someone like Cllr Bennett who voted through the 22% payrise in a sub committee of five in the hope that no one would notice, to now moan about fair play and due process, shows a complete lack of reasoning and leaves me lost for words.

      Our council really does need some new blood

  9. Cassandra October 29, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I feel sure that the Councillors who’ve called the meeting understand their responsibilities towards Hygate and there was no need for Bennett et al to write reminding them. The difference between the pro Hygate camp and the other rest of the Councillors is that the rest also understand their responsibilities to the electorate on the islands and to taxpayers in general.

  10. Pat Hicks October 29, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    There is no hope for these councillors . who are in complete denial………..
    THEY WILL BE LAUGHED AT BY THE PUBLIC !!

  11. Nobby Nobbs October 29, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    “Cllr Bennett told Radio Scilly there have been questions over whether the chairman and vice chairman of the Council have the authority to take action without it being initiated in a Council meeting.”

    You mean just like Cllr Bennett and co did when they pushed through the ceo’s 22% payrise when that should have gone before full council

    She then goes onto say…
    “they believe there’ll be, “some kind of disciplinary process” and they want assurance that proper procedures are being followed.”

    The sheer hypocrisy of that statement in regards to the ceo is unbelievable.

    And these councillors also say “they don’t want the Council’s reputation to be damaged at a time when the authority is already under the spotlight.”

    It’s precisely the actions of their beloved Mr Hygate that has brought the council into the spotlight!!!!!

    Not only does the council need to purge it’s self of some senior officers but a number of councillors could also do the islands a favour by standing down next May. It’s funny how its the same five people who voted through the 22% payrise that are now trying to defend the undefended., outrageous!