Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Who knew what when and what did they do?

Sadly people do not always meet the expectations of public office. But what is more significant is how those in positions of responsibility behave, react and deal with the situation once an alleged breach is reported.

We have such a situation in Norland Ward, where a Councillor resigned his role the day before going to Court to be accused of very serious crimes. His guilt or otherwise is not the issue here; that is for the Courts to decide.

However, what is in question is how the allegations were reported and to whom, how the situation was dealt with by those with a mandate to deal with such issues on our behalf, and whether correct procedures were followed. These questions have not been answered satisfactorily.

In everyday life we have our own personal barometer of what is proper and correct that helps us deal with new and problematic situations. The difficulty arises when an unforeseen situation arises and there is no pattern of behaviour laid down for you.

Of course, not everyone was fitted at birth with a moral barometer. For some their sense of right or wrong has been replaced with a compass of ambition and self-interest. This may suit the commercial world but sits uncomfortably in public office where we are elected to help others, not to help ourselves. For others ‘omertà’ or the cult of brotherhood commits them to silence about crimes committed by friends or even enemies; criminal gangs and Masonic groups are accused of this medieval practice.

Within the Council we are fortunate to have a set of written rules to follow, which have been democratically agreed. We must abide by these rules or suffer the consequences.

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