Cllr Simon Mountney: “Now I don’t know, I’ve asked, no one will tell me what the issue was that caused that employee to be paid that large amount of money”
Continuing from yesterday about last week’s Audit and Risk Management Committee meeting, Cllr Simon Mountney’s further comments start at 24:22 in this video clip and continue in the clip below.
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Cllr Mountney said, “Chair, thank you. Chair your comments about fraud are interesting because I don’t know of one councillor that would not support an employee who followed the procedures, made the decision but got it wrong. I think that’s what happens I hear every day of the week that’s important.
Perhaps they need training, perhaps they need guidance, whatever they need but not one councillor I don’t think has called for that person to be sacked, or fired or disciplined as they have with other council employees in the past and that’s the difference.
Steve you had an analogy about people given legal advice that you found yourself up against all this legal advice. That was probably because you’d done something wrong.”
Cllr Steve Foulkes said “I got divorced.”
Cllr Simon Mountney continued, “Whatever the case may be, it’s difficult to prove a wrong. You can get away with something, you can prove an innocent but you can’t prove a wrongdoing err the main reason you can’t frame people because now people find out about it down the line.
No one’s calling for employees to be dragged out and flogged publicly for making mistakes. That’s not what we’re asking for. Importantly as if you like a director of this company being a councillor, I want to learn the lessons that need to be learnt so that we can improve it.
Now, what we’re not doing is that process. An employee of this Council has just been paid tens of thousands of pounds for something that was done to them. Now I don’t know, I’ve asked, no one will tell me what the issue was that caused that employee to be paid that large amount of money. How can we therefore learn the lessons? We’re not. So page after page after page has been written here to say we did wrong and we’re improving. No we’re not, because we’re not learning the lessons which have been learnt clearly from all these issues because we’re still doing it!
Please somebody tell me that the level of rigour, robustness and due diligence was in force against the payment of that large amount of money recently to a Council employee as is being applied to the Martin Morton issue, because I tell you that is impossible, impossible!? Two years that process has been gone one, two years! He’s been dragged through every last ditch, the man is at the edge and hang on, I haven’t finished, I’ve not said anything that’s wrong.
He’s been dragged through every ditch, he is at the end and yet we can find a large amount of money to pay for an individual in this Council within what appears to be, appears to be weeks. Now that same level of robustness and diligence cannot have been applied to that case as indeed applies to Martin Morton and therefore your comments about I want everyone to be treated the same is not happening in this Council! All these lessons which we’re supposed to have learnt, not one! Thank you.”
Cllr Jim Crabtree (Chair): “Surjit would like to come in.”
Surjit Tour, head of Legal and Member Services said, “I would advise it’s not appropriate for Members to discuss or go into detail about any particular case and I appreciate what Cllr Mountney has said.
What I would say however, I agree with Mr. Morton, he has legal advice, he has a legal adviser and matters are being dealt with through his solicitors.”
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