From a correspondent:
I have read the post regarding Councillor Miller’s email exchange with Mark Williams, EDDC CEO-and I have several observations.
I am surprised that, after all these years in the job he has such a thin skin.
I can see nothing in the exchange [see page 3] which merits a Standards Committee hearing. Whether I agree or not with Councillor Miller is immaterial – I can see nothing more than a passionate and frustrated young and new councillor attempting to get that passion and frustration over to the CEO.
If councillors cannot communicate in a robust way with the CEO and if “sweeter” ways do not work – what should they do?
The CEO of any organisation worth his or her salt doesn’t run to the HR department and request that the person communicating with him or her should be “nice” – he or she opens a dialogue with them to find common ground and solutions -giving them the benefit of experience and (hopefully) wisdom.
Freedom speech is something our current government is massively pushing when it allows or supports disparate and perhaps inflammatory views expressed in public – this exchange was not in public till the CEO put it out there.
Finally, if our CEO is handling matters badly – what can we or the council do? I am aware of no procedure to deal with such events.
Can you really see a situation where a Monitoring Officer will force the boss to rehabilitate!
Mark Williams is a man with dual standards.
He will happily use the system (in this case Standards Committee) to intimidate a councillor who he doesn’t like.
But equally he has in the past used his position as CEO during public meetings to be disrespectful and make disparaging and potentially slanderous / libellous remarks about a member of the public he has taken a dislike to (as an aside to the Tory Leader, picked up and amplified by the microphone) presumably in the full knowledge that the member of the public does not have a right of rebuttal or recourse to counter it.
He also used email and his position in public meetings to disclose confidential information provided by a councillor to Devon & Cornwall Police. At the time I was never able to get to the bottom of how Mark Williams was able to get hold of this information that should have been kept confidential by D&CP under their written privacy policies.
Surely this is more a question of the CEO bullying elected representatives by, in effect saying, ‘Be nice to me or I’ll drag you in front of the Standards Committee’. As your correspondent says, any CEO worthy of that position would have a face to face meeting with somebody who was clearly so frustrated with the status quo in order to try to find a way out of the situation that was acceptable to both sides.
Although I had the word “Bully” in mind when writing my previous comment, I didn’t actually use it – but if it quacks like a duck etc.
Though I believe that there may have been far more serious allegation laid against Mark Williams in the past which were apparently never properly investigated.
So, a new Councillor, unexperienced in the ‘old traditional ways’ of the District Council , was ‘foolish’ enough to challenge its CEO.
About time too!
The dual standards of a CEO , witnessed over again by the public when, as Paul F says the public have no ability to counter it.
Thin skin? Thick skin?
No ! We are talking scales here!
A snake has scales. The scales of a snake primarily serve to reduce friction. I repeat ‘reduce friction.’
A snake can move in mysterious ways (in this case, very mysterious ways) and has spat venom at having been challenged.
The same Devon and Cornwall police who share with Mark Williams the failure to investigate Graham Brown’s activities and the misuse by Sara Randall Johnson of a huge sum of our public money on a frivolous and conflicted legal action. Funny handshakes all round I imagine.
As I have commented elsewhere, Mark Hawkins’s allegations above may be serious, but they pale into insignificance with at least two other allegations I have heard neither of which as far as I know were ever investigated by Devon & Cornwall Police.
I imagine that now, after Senior Officers at EDDC have said they only ever acted on the instructions of the previous (Tory) administration, even many of the Torys will acknowledge what shall we say, what ‘a problem’ Williamson is.