Closed Meeting To Discuss Chief Exec Employment Issues

Council chief executive, Philip Hygate

Issues surrounding the employment of the chief executive of the islands’ Council, Philip Hygate, will be discussed at a closed-door meeting today.

Recently, Mr Hygate has been at the centre of a controversial debate on whether over 100 days of untaken holiday leave, said to be worth around £40,000, could be claimed.

Councillors wouldn’t support paying out that amount, although a meeting in September agreed that he will be able to take some of the time off.

Today’s discussions are likely to address Mr Hygate’s accountability to members, over what he is doing and when. Some councillors are unhappy that they have not been directly informed when the Chief Executive has attended business meetings on the mainland.

We also understand there’ll be some discussion of widely reported concerns over Mr Hygate’s conduct, although last Friday’s allegations that school employee, Julie Hicks, was told by Mr Hygate that her home was monitored, didn’t make the deadline for inclusion in the meeting so they are not expected to feature heavily.

Mr Hygate denies that allegation and is expected to robustly defend his record and loyalty to the Council today.

It’s emerged that Mr Hygate has had a 12-page letter tabled which questions chairman Mike Hick’s ability. It includes reference to Mr Hicks’ alleged forgetfulness and how it would affect his performance and ability to undertake his role.

Mr Hygate has included notes of conversations dating as far back as 20th January 2011 in which Councillor Hicks has mentioned memory lapses. There’s also reference made to Mike’s late mother and her memory lapses, including recounting that she forgot to sign her will documentation.

The paper also refers to the side effects of the strong painkillers Mr Hicks was on during his recent illness.

Mr Hygate was not available for comment yesterday.

Mr Hicks says he’s prepared to stand up and take any flack from the electorate but he feels thoroughly disgusted by some of the content he has read of late.

We understand that there are three voting options at today’s meeting; to leave things as they are, to arrange mediation or to suspend Mr Hygate as a neutral act while an investigation can be undertaken. It’s thought that would have to be completed within two months.


20 Responses to Closed Meeting To Discuss Chief Exec Employment Issues

  1. Fran Grottick October 31, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Dear Richard Thompson
    May I, as a HEART Committee member,
    assure you that HEART will always support
    good practice in our Local Governance.

  2. Islander October 31, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Firstly – I should like to be clear that I do not thank Christian and Nobby for speaking on my behalf – I certainly do not want to be associated as an islander with their gloating opinions, whatever Pat feels.
    It should be made clear that the ‘5’ might not be in favour of the Chief Exec – whatever Christian’s rash assumptions – they may be in favour of things done in the proper manner, to avoid a comeback in the form of an employment tribunal paid for by the electorate, and for that I thank them. On the pay rise issue – I still support the brave councillors that backed it (including the Chairman) – why should someone in Scilly be paid less than they would on the mainland? It has nothing to do with what I think about the person in that job. The waters have been muddied by personal ill feeling and idle island gossip – resulting in rash assumptions about hard working councillors – many of which are untrue.

  3. Richard Thompson October 31, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    I really hope HEART will be investigating and asking questions of the councillors involved in this closed investigation. After all they preach transparency and honesty don’t they?? Otherwise we may have to start asking about the motivation of HEART members….

    • Todd Stevens October 31, 2012 at 7:51 pm

      No need- It wasn’t an investigation? the councillors made sure the meeting with, and interview of, the CEO was all above board…….and they got the go ahead from the Local Government Association. Whats more- the CEO had his lawyer present. Which was a sight more than Wilby got.

  4. Samual Vimes October 31, 2012 at 7:42 am

    China is a one-party state.
    The Communist Party does not tolerate any opposition or criticism.
    The lack of any checks or balances has led to endemic corruption and widespread public resentment of the privileges enjoyed by those in power. Income inequality in China is extreme

    Sound familiar?

  5. pat hicks October 30, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    What a day !!!. Yes this a time to keep calm, hopefully all the councillors will now pull together and support the chairman and vice chairman, who have believed what they have been told by the public. we need to support them now. we must make sure the investigation will be done properly and hopefully quickly for the sake off everyone.
    we need to be patient tho.

  6. Todd Stevens October 30, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Outed by a wrong proceedure? Frankly I wouldnt care less, as that would merely be Poetic justice. But yes, hopefully the members will get it absolutely right. As for- ‘the five’ -as they have been described here- hopefully their eyes are slowly being opened and will realise that for many the cloud is now finnally lifting. They have done, and can continue to do, good work for this community. I would ask them to unite behind their colleagues to help bring this saga to a swift conclusion. Then we can all move on from this annus horribilis ; repair and come back together.

  7. Fred Colon October 30, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    I would like to defend young Nobby in that none of his posts are politically biased on account of there being no political party involved as all the councillors stand as independents. just some are more independent that others, if you get my drift.

  8. Lady Jane October 30, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    you can’t make it any plainer than that
    as they say the truth hurts…

  9. Joby Newton October 30, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Interesting that you felt the need to state the fact you are not Christian May, I never assumed you Nobby Nobbs were.

    It wasn’t just those 5 that voted through the government recommended pay rise it should be noted the council chair backed it for example….

    Anyway I think you misread my post, not at one point am I saying I support Mr Highgate and if he is found to be in the wrong then I would fully support appropriate action. I just want correct procedure to be implemented, less haste and knee-jerk reactions to prevent further future problems.

    I just dislike politically biased or motivated posts that are read and assumed gospel.

  10. Joby Newton October 30, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Calling Five Councillor’s who made a statement calling for the correct procedure’s to be implemented ‘The Shameless Five’ is absolutely disgusting.

    This is obviously a matter that has caused a lot of emotion and a full investigation is definitely the right way forward. But the council must do everything in the correct way and the stance of individual councillor’s shouldn’t be constantly ridiculed by a small poisonous group on this website, which Is viewed by many locals and visitors alike.

    These ‘Shameless Five’ are Councillors who have put a lot of time and effort into many different committees on the council and do not deserve personal attacks.

    It’s amazing how Christian’s writing style is exactly the same as some anonymous posters on this forum…………..

    • Nobby Nobbs October 30, 2012 at 7:16 pm

      I can assure you that I Nobby Nobbs am not Christian May.
      As to the shameless five doing good work, that Mr newton is debatable and depends upon your point of view: It was the shameless five after all that voted through the the 22% pay-rise and it has been the shameless five that have supported Mr Hygate when perhaps a more reasoned approach would have been better for the islands.

      I mean lets look at the evidence
      1.The sacking of headmaster is now the subject of a DofE investigation
      2.The allegation brought by Mrs Hicks of threatening behavour
      3.The appalling act of using the the Chairman’s late mother in an accusation made against the chairman in an attempt to tarnish hbis reputation.
      4.And now the revelation that Mr Hygate as the chief returning officer accused young Christian of voter fraud and then went on to lose the council a large sum of money in the high court when Christian rightly defended himself.

      And these are the four most recent instances.
      hardly the acts of a man who has the islands best interests at heart

  11. Todd Stevens October 30, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Cliknking glasses here Pat.

  12. pat hicks October 30, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Well said Christian and Nobby..
    what you have said is on behalf of alot of people over here..
    the truth will win out in the end.

    And i have just heard the best news …….

  13. Richard October 30, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Sounds like the kind of thing that happened during the darkest days of the old USSR; any dissenter was dealt with by being branded as crazy. Watch out Mike or Mr. Hygate might decide to have you locked up in a gulag on Tean.

  14. Liz Martland October 30, 2012 at 11:30 am

    ‘Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won’t taste good!’

  15. sue October 30, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Surely there is only one voting option. Mr Wilby was suspended during an investigation so surely Mr Highgate should be treated the same!

  16. Nobby Nobbs October 30, 2012 at 11:04 am

    When the Chief executive starts making personal attacks on the chairman of the councils late mother, not only is that a sign of desperation but it is also an outrageous, disgusting and shameful act.
    It is not the sort of behaviour becoming the position of chief executive of the council of the Isles of Scilly.
    I sincerely hope the council suspend you and then following an investigation sack you.

  17. Christian May October 30, 2012 at 9:40 am

    It seems to me that some Councillors are living in a complete fantasy world that would be better suited to 20 years ago. Scrutiny and accountability are not things that can be ignored any more. Nor are they selective. Mr Hygate will get to make his case and have his say, which is more than was afforded to Mr Wilby or Mrs Hicks.

    This website has done more in a few months to expose corruption and potential criminality in the Town Hall than any elected Member has ever managed to do. I appreciate that there are a few notable Members working hard to do their best, but that their efforts are often hampered by wilfully ignorant or inept colleagues. I suppose we’ll see who wins out later today.

    The behaviour of the Chief Executive has been breathtaking. The only thing more extraordinary is that some Councillors (let’s call them The Shameless Five) still feel the need to come to Mr Hygate’s defence.

    Let’s jut be clear; the Chief Executive of the Council, with his back to the wall, has sent out a document to Councillors in which he makes potentially libelous statements about the mental health of the Council Chairman. And people still think this man is honourable? I’ve never heard of anything like it.

    I haven’t always agreed with the way in which Mike Hicks has handled recent events, especially the Wilby affair, but for the Chief Executive to behave like this shows his true character and suggests to me at least that there is absolutely nothing he will not do to retain his power.

    It is my firm hope that the Chief Executive is suspended today, pending a full investigation into his conduct, ethics and finances.

    Hang in there Scilly.

    • Todd Stevens October 30, 2012 at 6:12 pm

      Well said Sir.——and he was suspended.