Two Fenland councillors face allegations of breaching code of conduct by Cambridgeshire Bus, Coach and Taxi Association
Two Fenland District councillors could face a conduct hearing after an official complaint by the Cambridgeshire Bus, Coach and Taxi Association lodged yesterday afternoon (Wednesday).
The association has submitted a lengthy complaint, accompanied by various documentary evidence, against both Councillor Kit Owen and Councillor Simon King.
It could mean second conduct hearing for Coun King, who is already awaiting the outcome of a complaint over alleged irregularities in his mileage claims.
Both men said they were surprised by news of the complaint and denied any wrong doing.
Chairman, Mark Holland, vice-chairman Dave Humphrey and treasurer, Jenny Parker, of the Cambridgeshire Bus, Coach and Taxi Association (CBCTA) have all signed their names to the complaints against the two councillors.
In their complaint they say: “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 are linked to the recent findings of an independent investigation, ordered by Cambridgeshire County Council, into the Fenland Association for Community Transport’s (FACT) activities linked to grant funding applications.
Both men are 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.
Coun King has also been accused of failing to declare an interest. He also alleged to have failed to act under the principles of “objectivity, honesty and openness.”
But Coun King said: "I was on the board purely in my official capacity representing Fenland District Council in my role as the relevant cabinet member.
"I did not have any personal interest in FACT, and I am not a member either. I have faced a similar allegation in the past from former county councillor Alan Lay and we had a meeting about it at that time, and it was agreed I did not have to declare any interest."
Coun Owen said: "There is simply no truth in any of this, not one bit. I have way too many other more important things to worry about than this. There is no veracity to any of it."
The CBCTA are also objecting to Coun Owen holding a position on Fenland Council’s licensing committee and say their objections are three-fold: Fit and proper person; failure to act objectively and without bias; conflict of interest.
Along with a covering letter sent with the complaint to Fenland’s chief executive, Paul Medd, and council leader Councillor Chris Seaton, the CBCTA has also included a raft of appendices to support their complaint.