Question over why six months on misconduct complaint against Fenland councillor is still unresolved
Six months on and a misconduct complaint against a Fenland District Councillor has not even progressed past the ‘pre-sift’ stage.
The Cambridgeshire Bus, Coach and Taxi Association lodged an official complaint against March councillor Kit Owen in September last year,linked to Fenland Association for Community Transport (FACT).
Dave Humphrey, the association’s vice-chairman, has now accused the council of deliberately delaying making a decision on whether or not he has a case to answer until after the upcoming May 2 elections.
The association submitted a lengthy complaint, accompanied by various documentary evidence, against both Coun Kit Owen and Coun Simon King. However, Coun King is standing down in May and Mr Humphrey confirmed as a result of that decision they were less concerned over the lack of progress against him.
Both Coun Owen and Coun King said they were surprised at the time the complaint was made and denied any wrong doing.
In the complaint made by association chairman Mark Holland, Mr Humphrey and treasurer Jenny Parker, they said: “We maintain these councillors have failed to treat with respect members of the taxi industry and through a failure to act in accordance with the seven principles of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty, and leadership - have brought their office or authority into disrepute.
The allegations were linked findings of an independent investigation, ordered by Cambridgeshire County Council, into FACT’s activities linked to grant funding applications.
Both men were members of the FACT board. The CBCTA allege Coun Owen failed to declare an interest when discussions involving the awarding of contracts were made during council meetings.
He is also accused of treating members of the taxi industry “disrepectfully” and ignoring their concerns.
A spokesman for Fenland council said: “The monitoring officer is aware that the matter is still outstanding. The matter has continued to progress since first received and we will be reconvening the pre-sift discussion in the very near future.”
Mr Humphrey said: “We firmly believe FDC are delaying this matter until after the election, how is democracy supposed to work when the electorate are denied the opportunity to make informed decisions?”
The spokesman did not comment on why the matter has been allowed to drag-on, or what the delay has been in dealing with the issue.