Another ‘Vote of Confidence’ – of sorts

Followers of the concerns raised by Real Whitby contributors concerning the moral probity of Councillor Jane Kenyon will remember former SBC Councillor Mike Ward’s letter to Scarborough & Whitby MP Robert Goodwill.

Mike was most dissatisfied with Mr Goodwill’s response and his responded with the following email:

From: Mike Ward
Sent: Friday, August 24, 2012 12:12 AM
Subject: Re: A vote of confidence

TO ROBERT GOODWILL MP

Thank you for your reply stating that Cllr Kenyon ‘continues to have my full support’.

Unfortunately your reply only touches the surface and fails to address the questions and concerns in my previous e-mail.

You say:-

For example the facts regarding the business in America were drawn to my attention 7 years ago and I asked them to be looked into at that time.I was told they were fully investigated and there was nothing outstanding that would affect Councillor Kenyon’s ability to continue her work.Secondly,the points regarding the timber company have been fully investigated and explained.In particular any perceived discrepancies in dates when declarations were made have been explained by the way that the internal processes within the local authorities work.”

It is not the issue of declarations of interest or the Councillor’s ability to do the job that gives rise to my concerns.I have already said that I appreciate much of that Councillor’s work within the community.

My concern centres on how our Councils are handling complaints and whether certain issues are being thoroughly and properly investigated.

From what you have been told can you confirm if the facts on the two companies as reported are true or false ? If true do you think a simple apology to those who suffered financially might be in order ?

Who investigated both matters ? Were minutes taken of any meetings ? Was a full report prepared ? Was it a thorough and comprehensive investigation ? Who was asked to present any possible evidence ? My information is that no evidence has ever been asked for or looked at in detail? Is this true ? If not how did any enquiry reach it’s conclusion.Was it an independent investigation ? If not could there have been any conflict of interest ?

You mention the long running campaign by David Clark “who has been harrassing Councillor Kenyon for some considerable time,despite the fact that the allegations that were made against her have been fully investigated”.

Who conducted that enquiry? Was Mr Clark called to give evidence and was a report prepared with the findings presented to him? If not I can see possibly reasons for his continuing concern. All serious complaints must be dealt with efficiently and brought to a satisfactory conclusion otherwise they will continue. In many cases the only way forward is to hold an independent enquiry. Every complaimant deserves the respect that public officials would themselves expect and answers that get to the root cause of the complaint. No complaint can ever be brushed aside and silence is never an option.

With my limited legal knoweledge I can see that an overseas matter of the kind reported might not prevent anyone from standing as a Councillor,whilst maybe not in accordance with Nolan’s 7 Principles of Public life. I am less sure with the reported issues surrounding the other company.

Do you think anyone’s financial judgement has been called into question if the alleged offences are true ?

Would I employ a financial advisor with a background of failed companies ? I would have to say it would be extremely doubtful ?

Everyone needs to have total confidence in the way public finances are managed. The background of those holding positions with huge financial responsibilities surely must be whiter than white.

However my e-mail to you went beyond any one councillor.

My two key concerns surround the Vicar’s widow (her statement and the alleged misappropriation of church funds) and the alleged forged document sent to Companies House. Have you asked for an enquiry into those two issues? Surely it is in everyone’s best interest to examine them in detail. I would have thought the alleged forged signature on a company document would be taken very seriously and I would certainly want a full investigation if I had been put into that situation myself. Also as she is one of your constituents have you spoken to the vicar’s widow to establish if there are possible grounds for an enquiry? Unless someone speaks to those who say they hold information how can anything be established and any sort of conclusion reached?

I also raised the question of double claims for broadband charges. I realise the Standards Committee is now conducting an investigation but I hope you would add your weight to a call for it to be thorough going back beyond 2009. I do appreciate that from 2009 expenses were not broken down on the pay slip so there could have been a misunderstanding. Claims from the same household as well as those claims to a Council and another Authority need to be dealt with at the same time. Does the National Park and/or the Police Authority pay a telephone/broadband allowance ? Has any double claim be made with them ?

Would you encourage all councillors who double claimed to pay back what they owe even before an enquiry? Why would any Councillor now knowing a double claim had been made, even through a misunderstanding, not repay that amount immediately?

You go on to say :-

“I hope the campaign can now stop and that Councillor Kenyon can be allowed to get on with her work for the remaining weeks of the Police Authorities existence and as a Cabinet Member on Scarborough Borough Council.”

Over that I have of course no say. I think all the issues as reported are reflecting badly on all public officials which is neither right or fair. I cannot see how it will go away especially if more material comes to light.

Public Officials like yourself hold the key to resolving this matter. I can see no other way forward other than by asking for a full and thorough independent enquiry into all the alleged offences. Simply branding those with complaints and those reporting the complaints as vindictive & vexatious is not helpful.

An official enquiry can only be beneficial to all parties at this time.

Thanks,

Mike Ward