• EDDC chair dodges tricky question on “Divianigate” - again

    8th November 2013 | News | Claire
  • Save Our Sidmouth chairman, Richard Thurlow asked whether Cllr Godbeer, who also chairs EDDC’s standards committee, approved of EDDC’s leader Cllr Paul Diviani’s rant about me, Save Our Sidmouth and East Devon Alliance, sent to over 100 people last month – see – http://www.claire-wright.org/index.php/post/paul_divianis_message_on_budgets_with_a_few_other_references/

    At the council meeting, Cllr Godbeer declined to answer, instead referring to the question to the leader.  When pressed, Cllr Godbeer said he would provide a written answer to Mr Thurlow’s question – see – http://www.claire-wright.org/index.php/post/written_answer_coming_from_chairman_on_divianigate/

    But Cllr Godbeer’s written answer, which was supposed to be sent to all councillors and was not, once again sidesteps the question – in case he pre-empts a formal complaint!

    See the Save Our Sidmouth website – http://saveoursidmouth.com/2013/11/08/councillor-godbeer-refuses-to-clarify-his-opinion/

    Of course, if a formal complaint were submitted, the monitoring officer would deal with it herself or refer it to the standards committee. During and after the process Cllr Godbeer would, if pursued for a view, say he cannot comment while a complaint is ongoing …and then once it was dealt with, he would say the complaint had been closed, thereby opting out of commenting!

    If the author of the infamous email had not been a conservative councillor, would Cllr Godbeer be so lily-livered about expressing his view? 

    I think I know the answer to that ..!

    … but this is the trouble with party political chairs of standards committees. Up until last summer, the chair was someone external to the council and was completely neutral.  But the government changed the rules, including removing the votes from all the external members of the committee – now the standards committee chair is simply the chair of the council – a member of the majority party.