Tribunal councillor had been reported to Ombudsman

Reporter:

Helen Davies

A COUNCILLOR complained to the Ombudsman about a colleague’s behaviour, a tribunal heard yesterday.

Cllr Klaus Armstrong Braun felt fellow Flintshire councillor Patrick Heesom’s behaviour at a meeting was “extremely aggressive”.

Cllr Heesom, who represents Mostyn, stands accused of six breaches of the councillors’ code of conduct.

Giving evidence to the tribunal, which continued at St David’s Park Hotel in Ewloe yesterday, Cllr Armstrong Braun, who represents Saltney, said he had reported Cllr Heesom to the Ombudsman after the latter had interrupted a meeting of an overview and scrutiny committee.

The tribunal heard Cllr Armstrong Braun had reported only one other councillor to the Ombudsman in his time on the authority, but had reported a number of councillors to the monitoring officer and to Barry Davies, Flintshire Council’s head of legal and democratic services, for their behaviour at meetings.

He said the complaints were not in writing and he could not remember how many he had made, although he expected it was between five and nine.

Michael Murphy, leading Cllr Heesom’s legal case, asked Cllr Armstrong Braun during cross-examination: “Is it fair to say by most councillors you’re ostracised?”

He replied: “I don’t say ostracised. We keep our own space but many councillors talk to me regularly.”

Mr Murphy then said: “I suggest you thrive on being disliked by other councillors.”

Cllr Armstong Braun said: “That is completely untrue. It never bothers me what other people think of me.”

The tribunal also heard yesterday from Flintshire Council’s human resources officer, Sharon Carney.

She told of a meeting where Cllr Aaron Shotton had suggested Carl Longland,the council’s director of environment, might like to say something and Cllr Heesom had said: “If he dares.”

Mrs Carney said: “It felt totally inappropriate and appeared to me as if Cllr Heesom was trying to undermine Carl who was also fairly new in the post at this time.”

Mr Murphy suggested this comment was made in jest, but Mrs Carney said: “It didn’t come across as being in jest. To me at that time I was very surprised. I would not expect a senior officer to be spoken to in that way.”

Mr Murphy said: “I suggest you have taken it in the wrong way because nobody else has mentioned it in their evidence.”

The tribunal continues.

See full story in the Leader

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