Woking Chief Executive offers to help Conservatives with “election material”

Very odd behaviour by Ray Morgan, Chief Executive of Woking Borough Council:

In his email, accidentally copied to a member of the public, Mr Morgan said: “With elections in May do you [Cllr Bittleston, Conservative leader of the council] need a positive explanation if [sic] all that we are doing that you can use both administratively when presenting the budget and politically in election material?”

Senior council officers like Mr Morgan are required to be politically neutral, a requirement this offer could have breached. [Get Surrey]

Ann-Marie Barker (Lib Dem), leader of the opposition on the council, has not surprisingly asked the council’s lawyers to look into this:

Mr Morgan has every right to supply information and facts to the Conservative party. He is also happy to provide this to opposition parties.

However, in this case a line has been crossed.

The chief executive appears to be offering material for political purposes. This suggests he may favour one political party over another and fails to maintain the neutral political stance required by his office.

The public expect officials to rise above party politics. We don’t need the chief executive acting as a spin doctor for the Conservative party.

Ray Morgan has responded saying,

As to providing the leader of the council with information for his budget statement, or for his election material, it is my job.

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