Councillor: censured for ‘dispectful comments’ to mayor – 2014

Owl recalls one of the early posts in the then emerging “East Devon Watch” at the end of April 2014. The post went under the heading “Some councillors get away with Blue Murder, some don’t”.

It pointed out that this was the second time Councillor Wragg (Lib Dem) had been brought before EDDC’s Standards Board for comments that seem to be the sort of thing that councillors of another colour call “robust debate” when they make similar remarks and have no action taken against them.

Eileen Wragg was unrepentant then, Owl hopes she is unrepentant now.

Dave Beasley 

A standards watchdog has ordered Councillor Eileen Wragg to publically ‘apologise’ to Exmouth’s mayor John Humphreys for ‘discourteous’ and ‘disrespectful’ behaviour.

But an unrepentant Councillor Wragg has refused – and has denounced the investigation as a ‘waste of tax payer’s money’ as well as criticising the year it has taken to resolve the complaint.

The complaint centres on comments Cllr Wragg made to Cllr Humphreys last May when he was inaugurated for a second term as town mayor.

The report of the standards hearing at East Devon District Council says that Councillor Wragg interrupted Councillor Humphreys during his acceptance speech in which he was giving a review of the previous year and what had been achieved.

Later in the meeting Councillor Humphreys then attempted to stop comments Cllr Wragg was making on the membership of the council’s committees.

The investigating officer Inspector Tim Darsley stated that Cllr Wragg said to the mayor: “We don’t want to hear what you have done in the past year.

She also said: “I don’t respect you as chairman and I never will. You don’t represent the people of Exmouth.”

Mr Darsley said the comments broke the town council’s councillors’ code of conduct which states that ‘you must treat others with courtesy and respect.’

However Councillor Wragg wrote to standards committee and said that ‘accumulated animosity’ between the two had lead to her comments.

The report reads: “The sub committee did not accept the excuse for accumulated animosity (between the two councillors) as justification for the breaches of the code of conduct.”

The standards committee added that Councillor Wragg must apologise to Councillor Humphreys at a meeting of the town council, while the town council would receive ‘guidance and training’ on the code of conduct.

Councillor Eileen Wragg told the Journal: “East Devon has decided to contact the press before having the courtesy to inform me first.

“I’m certainly not going to apologise.

“This is all part of the rough and tumble of political life, and I feel if you can’t take it you should get out of politics.

“I didn’t turn up to the hearing because I considered it a waste of thousands of pounds of taxpayer’s money.”

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