Councillor faces conduct investigation
A COUNCILLOR has become the second former town mayor to face investigation into her conduct by the Standards Board for England in quick succession.Kay Oakes, outgoing mayor of Needham Market, is being investigated amid allegations that she has acted inappropriately.
By John Howard
A COUNCILLOR has become the second former town mayor to face investigation into her conduct by the Standards Board for England in quick succession.
Kay Oakes, outgoing mayor of Needham Market, is being investigated amid allegations that she has acted inappropriately.
The revelation comes as Ian Mason, 61, a former town mayor who has served in public life for 23 years, is also being investigated for allegedly being rude and abrasive.
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A spokeswoman for the Standards Board said: “There is an investigation currently underway into Kay Oakes, following on from an allegation that we have received.
“It is alleged that she used her position inappropriately to secure an advantage for herself, or a disadvantage for others, and that she did not withdraw from a meeting in which she had a prejudicial interest.
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“It is also alleged that she sought to improperly influence a decision, and she had a prejudicial interest.
“Kay Oakes case and Ian Mason's have both been referred for investigation by the local authority, who will deal with it.”
Mr Mason, who owns a garage at Barking, is a landlord, and has interest in a planning consultancy firm, has been reported to the board by fellow councillor Brian Annis OBE.
Mr Mason is alleged to have bullied town clerk Josephine Lea causing her distress and to have failed to treat her with respect.
It is further alleged he has a rude and abrasive manner when dealing with the district council's planning department and other councillors and that he has brought his office or authority into disrepute.
But he insists that he is simply a rough diamond, with the town's interests at heart. He has admitted to having an abrasive and aggressive manner, but said he is always fair, and conducts his councillor duties honestly in the best interests of residents.
The Standards Board typically only investigates about 25% of cases referred to it, with the majority rejected without going any further. If the local authority finds a breach in codes of conduct required for councillors, they could suspend the councillor for several months, recommended they undergo training, or order them to apologise.
But the councillors, both of whom were unavailable for comment yesterday, could also be cleared of any breach in of the conduct code whatsoever, and have no further action taken against them.
A spokeswoman for Mid Suffolk District Council said that the investigation is at an early stage and the authority would not add to any comments made by the Standards Board.