£3,500 cost of councillor ‘bullying’ investigation

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An investigation into a councillor who ‘bullied’ the Dunstable Town Council clerk cost the taxpayer more than £3,500, the Gazette can reveal.

Following a December 2013 meeting, independent councillor Julian Murray was reprimanded for an altercation with David Ashlee, in which he was found to have ‘bullied’ the chief clerk and chief executive.

A subsequent investigation into the incident, carried out by Central Beds Council, found that Cllr Murray had broken the code of conduct and he publicly apologised.

The Gazette can reveal for the first time that this probe cost £3,577 plus VAT.

In a statement, CBC monitoring officer Melanie Clay said: “The Localism Act 2011 gives the monitoring officer of principal councils the responsibility for dealing with any complaint that a councillor within their authority area has breached the councillor code of conduct.

“The cost of dealing with the allegations against Cllr Murray of Dunstable Town Council was £3577.47 (exclusive of VAT) which included the investigation, liaison with all the parties and facilitating the resolution.”