Press Release - 05 April
BBEG receive their very first letter from Tony McArdle, Chief Executive, LCC and reply immediately
Mr Tony McArdle
Lincolnshire County Council
05 April 2007
Dear Mr McArdle
Your Ref: TM/PAR
COMPLAINT TO THE STANDARDS BOARD FOR ENGLAND DATED 21 FEBRUARY 2007
Thank you for your letter dated 04 April 2007 (below). We are indeed delighted to at last receive the very first reply from you, having written previously on 20 June 2006, 07 July 2006 and 05 February 2007, without any response whatsoever unfortunately.
We welcome any open and honest dialogue and discussion to resolve the desperate situation that Boston now finds itself in, and had this been forthcoming previously, the current situation would not have been reached. It is noted that our group was not contacted for any input at all by the Standards Board or by the person carrying out the independent review you refer to and we would therefore ask how this can be considered a comprehensive investigation when it appears to be one-sided?
I am more than happy to publish your letter, in full, as written, on the www.bbeg.org.uk website, despite the current climate of an unwillingness by any Conservative Councillor or Officer of Lincolnshire County Council or Boston Borough Council to answer any questions or participate in our media video, even before the election period of campaigning had started.
We would like to suggest a meeting to discuss the issues involved and to initiate an open and honest dialogue at last. We would willingly meet your team at Lincoln, on a date to suit you.
We feel strongly that Councillors, elected by the people who want to be represented, must be given the chance to speak and raise issues at meetings. The Highways PDG meeting on Monday 02 April 2007 being the most recent example of a Councillor not being allowed to make the point on record that, had the road widening scheme in Boston already taken place, it would not have made the slightest difference to the dire traffic problems that were caused by the burst water main on Haven Bridge. The bridge we understand was damaged by the water leak and will need to be closed again later this year? We are of the opinion that LCC simply cannot continue to silence elected Councillors from speaking up at meetings.
Let me state again clearly now for you, our group is non-political and favours no one party over another - we simply wish to see a recognition of Boston's urgent need for a bypass/distributor road/ring road - and Lincolnshire County Council have that responsibility currently.
I look forward to receiving a reply back from you and hope we can arrange a meeting in the very near future, before Boston's dire situation is irretrievable.
With very best wishes.
Chair, Boston Bypass & Economic Growth Pressure Group (BBEG)
05 April 2007
Mr R Fisher
Boston Bypass and Economic Growth Pressure Group
c/o The Web Builder
PO Box 23
Lincolnshire PE21 0QD
04 April 2007
RE: COMPLAINT TO THE STANDARDS BOARD FOR ENGLAND DATED 21 FEBRUARY 2007
I write in respect of the complaint that you made to the Standards Board for England on 21st February 2007 concerning a number of Councillors and Officers of Lincolnshire County Council. That complaint was made public on your website and sent to the Press.
The Standards Board have decided that the allegations made by you against Cllrs Webb, Poll, Hill and Cooper did not disclose potential breaches of the Code of Conduct and so would not be referred for further investigation. I believe you will have already received the relevant Decision Notices from the Board.
The allegations made against officers were not considered by the Standards Board as they fall outside the remit of the Board. Those allegations were serious, so the Council engaged an independent review of them by a recently retired local authority chief executive from outside Lincolnshire (and who is also a qualified solicitor). His report (copy attached) has concluded that your allegations are not substantiated. I note that in respect of any delays of process or errors that occurred, these had been explained to you and, where appropriate, apologies given.
Just as it is my responsibility, in the event that officers get things wrong, to ensure that appropriate action is taken to deal with the wrongdoing, so it is equally my responsibility to ensure that officers, when they act properly, are defended against unsubstantiated allegations made against them. In that regard, I am clear that the conclusions outlined above deserve to be given at least as much publicity as the original allegations. I would therefore ask you to confirm, by 10am on Tuesday 10th April, what steps you will take to publicise the fact that the Standards Board and the Independent Review have concluded that your allegations are not substantiated. In the event that I have not received such confirmation from you by that time I will make the arrangements that I believe to be necessary to protect the reputation of the Council and its officers.
I look forward to your response.