Lib Dem councillor ordered to apologise after attacking panel that recommended he get a pay rise


A councillor has been ordered to make a public apology for criticising members of a panel who recommended he and his colleagues get a pay rise.

Liberal Democrat Michael Charlesworth has been found to have breached Leicestershire County Council’s members’ code of conduct with comments he made during a debate about allowances…

During the debate Coun Charlesworth rose to read a pre-prepared statement in which he said the IRP – made up of former De Montfort University vice-chancellor David Wilson, former council lawyer Jayne Kelly and former bursar of Loughborough University Micheal Pearson – had not reached their conclusion about increasing allowances independently.

He accused the Tories of influencing the panel…

Coun Charlesworth … refused to co-operate with the investigation other than to say he stood by his comments and wanted his disciplinary hearing – which he did not attend – to be heard in public.

He said he did not feel the need to co-operate as all his remarks were available for people to see on a webcast of the meeting.

Mr Goolden [the lawyer appointed to investigate] said Coun Charlesworth’s non-cooperation was frustrating and that his comments had ‘quite simply crossed the line’. Mr Goolden said they were personalised, unjustified and made against people who had no right of reply. [Leicester Mercury]

What do you make of this?

7 responses to “Lib Dem councillor ordered to apologise after attacking panel that recommended he get a pay rise”

  1. Given what I have read, I would say that Cllr Charlesworth behaved disrespectfully. He may not agree with the allowance rise, but Ron accuse the panel of political bias is silly and immature.

  2. Back in the early ’60s when working at UNESCO a proposal was made among staff that the refugees from Hungary, who had been given low-paid jobs, be given a pay rise so that they could cope with Paris prices. When the large gathering realised they were one on demanding this, someone rose to say that if a pay rise was going to be given, then everyone should have a pay rise. Immediately the motion was adopted with a show of hands, all voting yes except for myself who said no. When asked why I pointed out that the purpose of the meeting was to help people who needed help, not to enlarge our own pockets. Nobody agreed – openly at least. The god Mammon is even more powerful now.

  3. Simple here we go “I am sorry that my comment offended you.”

    You could even add “it is a shame that you are not allowed to reply to comments I have made. I personally do believe it is is right that you should be given the opportunity to refute comments made by all councillors including me.”

    If you really wanted to go on you could say “whilst my comments were offensive to you and I do acknowledge that. I do believe in open and transparent debate and do not believe that the way in which I have been ordered to apologies is a healthy one. To order someone to apologies can give the false impression that that apology is not genuine and that can be more offensive as time goes on.”

  4. not acceptable.. A councillor must respect the work of officers or appointees as being done in good faith. If there is any concern that they have not followed proper procedures then the appropriate way to deal with it is via private questions or even an internal inquiry, not by making accusations in a public meeting.
    One must always respect the fact that we have different opinions, which we are entitled to, which is the point of the democratic vote at the end of a debate. Where things go wrong or get skewed is where councillors are under pressure to vote in a particular way, because their leader says so. But each individual has the power, and duty, to vote in the way that s/he thinks is right. If he was not happy with the proposal he should have just voted against, and salved his conscience.

  5. More information needed. Is there any evidence that the independent review panel didn’t act independently? Did Councillor Charlesworth raise his concerns through the proper process? Were these concerns ignored or not resolved properly? If yes to all three questions, he shouldn’t have to apologise. Otherwise it looks like he’s making unsubstantiated claims that are unfair on the members of the IRP.

  6. I am for our councillor. The others were the opposition,lining their pockets (Mr Goolden leaned on?) Rubbish, off course others can reply

  7. This is no way for a councillor – espec ially a Lib Dem – to behave: you just don’t make accusations against either officers or independent people assisting the council. If he wants to make a gesture of disapproval he can announce that he’s raising a standing order with a charity to the amount of the rise.

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