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More Secret Meetings – Whitby Harbour Users’ Consultative Stakeholders’ Steering Group

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Whitby Harbour Users’ Consultative Stakeholders’ Steering Group Meeting – Monday 12th March 2012 – 3:00pm – Whitby Harbour Office

whitby-harbour-board-top-secret-stampReal Whitby is reliably informed that Richard Ineson attempted to attend the Harbour Office today, in the hope of being allowed to observe the deliberations of the members of the Group at today’s meeting.

Harbour staff told him it was a closed meeting and he would not be permitted to attend.

At that point, Whitby Town Councillor Tom Brown arrived and requested that both he and Richard Ineson be allowed to attend, as observers.

Chair Jon Whitton expressed his willingness to allow them to attend, subject to putting the matter to the membership for a vote. Councillor Brown and Richard Ineson were asked to wait outside, while the vote took place, along with Whitby Town Councillor Mrs Wynne Jones (not a member of the Group), who had been scheduled to make a presentation to the Group, on behalf of the Civic Society.

While waiting outside, Councillor Brown felt unwell and went off to seek medical assistance. A few minutes later, Richard Ineson was informed that the membership had voted against admittance of press and public. Richard left the meeting.

This is the second occasion on which a Whitby Town Councillor has been refused admission to the Group, following the incident last year when Councillors Ian Havelock and Dennis Collins were ejected, causing the continuing rumpus that began with the offensive letters to Whitby Town Councillors, on SBC notepaper, written by appointed Whitby Harbour Board members Tony Hornigold and Edwin Black, and is unresolved to this day.

SBC’s Jo Ireland has been unable to provide authority for excluding press and public from Steering Group meetings.

The campaign for openness, transparency and accountability continues.

Posted by on March 12, 2012. Filed under Featured,News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

8 Responses to More Secret Meetings – Whitby Harbour Users’ Consultative Stakeholders’ Steering Group


  1. Nigel Ward Reply

    March 13, 2012 at 8:36 am

    The background to this is covered in detail here:

    http://www.real-whitby.co.uk/whitby-harbour-board-labels-town-councilors-as-rude-and-threatening-after-expelling-them-from-board-meeting

    http://www.real-whitby.co.uk/town-councilors-were-not-rude-and-threatening

    http://www.real-whitby.co.uk/crawling-into-the-gutter-with-whitby-town-council

    and here:

    http://www.real-whitby.co.uk/whitby-harbour-board-letter-nigel-ward-to-ian-havelock

    The following email (and three ‘reminders’, up to and including 28th February 2012, have been ignored by SBC. Why? Ian Anderson has confirmed, under separate cover, that appointed members of SBC Committees are subject to the same Code of Conduct as elected members. So why are these people being protected?

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Nigel
    To: Ian Anderson
    Cc: Michael Goode, Councillor Tom Brown
    Sent: Wednesday, December 28, 2011 6:56 PM
    Subject: STANDARDS COMMITTEE – pour encourager les autres

    Mr Ian ANDERSON – Head of Legal & Support Services and Monitoring Officer – SBC

    Ian,

    On behalf of myself and Whitby Town (Parish) Councillor Tom Brown, may I refer you to our brief discussion at Pannett Park a short while ago, and, in particular, draw your attention to the as yet unresolved matter of certain breaches of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct?

    You will recall that, in September 2011, EJB, a member of the Whitby Harbour Board (a.k.a. the Harbour Committee of Scarborough Borough Council) wrote a series of letters to Whitby Town (Parish) Council, on Scarborough Borough Council letterheads.

    1) The (unelected) member of the WHB states, in his letter of 7th September 2011(on SBC letterheads), that Mr (in fact, Councillor) Havelock and ‘his friend’ (in fact, Councillor Dennis Collins) left the WHUCG meeting “in a rude and threatening manner”. This is untrue.

    2) He further states that Mr (in fact, Councillor) Graham, was “confused as to who[sic] he was representing”. This is untrue.

    3) In his letter of 8th September 2011 (also on SBC letterheads), the (unelected) member of the WHB states that “Mr Havelock (Councillor) was argumentative and threatening”. Also untrue.

    4) He also states that “At the end of this display he was extremely rude, and displaying an aggressive attitude towards Mrs Lesley Dale, a senior member of the Port Management team . . .” Likewise, untrue.

    5) In his letter of 19th September, to Whitby Town (Parish) Council, the unelected member of the WHB states that Mr (Councillor) Havelock’s voice was “raised in anger”. Untrue.

    6) He goes on, in that same letter, to state that “furniture started to be moved and voices raised”, suggesting that there was danger to Mrs Lesley Dale and to Harbour equipment, personnel and facilities. Pure fiction.

    7) He also states that “Councillor Graham began to raise his voice”, and further, that Councillor Graham denied that he was there representing Whitby Town (Parish) Council.

    8) He further states that “In making his slow, argumentative exit Mr (in fact, Councillor) Havelock paused behind Mrs Dales’ chair and growled into the back of her neck”.

    I do not intend to reproduce the entirety of these three letters on SBC letterheads here; I know that they are already in your possession – as is another letter, in a similar vein – and also on SBC letterheads – addressed to WTC Town Mayor Councillor John Freeman by ASH, another (unelected) member of the WHB, in which the highly insulting remark that the writer had “no desire to crawl into the gutter to communicate with Whitby Town Council” was made.

    I do, however, need to remind you of your remarks in your letter to WTC of 3rd October 2011:
    ” Your members will of course recognise the provisions of the Code of Conduct for members of both the Borough and Town Councils and the primary principle of treating others with respect. I am sure your members will recognise the importance of members appointed to sit on Committees of both organisations paying careful regard to these provisions”.

    Having interviewed some of those present at the WHUCG meeting of 5th September, and with reference to written statements, I put it to you that the grave allegations made by the (unelected) members of the WHB cited above are, in truth, nothing more than a flimsy tissue of odious lies.

    This was confirmed in statements made by Mr Brian Bennett and yourself – as I noted in my email to you of 27th October 2011, copied below for your convenient reference; and to which, by the way, you have offered no response – that have since been accepted as a true record by WTC (and – or so I am given to believe – acknowledged as such by your good self), although I do note, with disappointment (if not surprise) that Mr Bennett has since attempted to amend his testimony in his letter to WTC of 29th November 2011, in which he states:

    “I do not agree with the wording of the statement attributed to me as written in the letter from the Town Council to Mr Ian Anderson dated 24th October 2011, in particularly [sic] the part that stated ‘that he did not believe there had been any raised voices and there was no disturbance caused by the exit of the two councillors there was certainly no ‘movement of furniture’ …..”. I said, “I was sitting at the far end of the room and I wasn’t aware of raised voices other than from Town Councillor Ken Graham and I was not aware of the movement of furniture”.

    This belated volte face on the part of Mr Bennett, more than a fortnight after the event, does him no credit. It has every appearance of being nothing more than an attempt to deflect attention from EJB and ASH and to discredit Councillor Ken Graham; it should be noted that no other of the statements outlined above makes any suggestion of Councillor Ken Graham having raised his voice – which he did not – a fact attested to by five witnesses.

    To continue:

    It is clear that the (unelected) member of the WHB, in his letter to Whitby Town (Parish) Council of 31st October 2011, tacitly concedes that his earlier statements were completely false. For the avoidance of doubt, I quote it here in it’s entirety:

    EDWIN BLACK
    Tel: 44(0) 1947 [XXXXXX]

    [XXXX] Cottage
    [XXXXXXX] Road,
    Hawsker
    Whitby,
    North Yorkshire
    YO22 [XXX]
    U.K.

    Mobile 07739 [XXXXXX]

    31st October 2011

    Deputy Clerk and Civic officer
    Whitby Town Council
    Pannett Park
    Whitby
    YO21 1RE

    For the attention of Councillors Havelock, Collins, Graham and Freeman

    Dear Sirs,

    Regarding the request for a retraction and apology for my recent comments when reacting to the incidents at the Whitby Harbour Users Committee attended by Councillors Havelock, Graham and Collins then…….

    I apologise for and retract any reference I made regarding raised voices and movement of furniture and risk to Harbour Staff or, indeed, threatening behaviour as attributed to Councillors Havelock and Graham.

    I submit this apology instead of comments and am happy to consider the issue resolved as defined by your letter and look forward to moving on.

    Yours sincerely,

    Edwin Black (signature)

    E.J.Black

    Copy to Mr. I Anderson
    Mr. B. Bennett
    Cllr M. Cockerill
    The Harbour Master – Whitby Port

    The retraction and apology from the other (unelected) member of the WHB speaks for itself.

    I put it to you that the making of false and dishonourable allegations impugning the character and integrity of elected members of Whitby Town (Parish) Council is flagrantly and irrefutably in breach of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct, as delineated in Chapter 2 of the attached guidance document, specifically:

    1) Treating others with respect

    7) Disrepute

    8) Using your position improperly

    I have no doubt that the Mr Bennett’s remarks concerning Councillor Ken Graham come into an equivalent conflict with terms of the SBC Officers’ Code of Conduct.

    You will recall that in the summer of 2009, three elected members of Whitby Town (Parish) Council were reported to the Standards Committee pursuant to their efforts to caution Whitby Town (Parish) against the imprudent appointment of an applicant for the position of Town Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer, on grounds of that applicant’s record of conduct at another Council. (If memory serves, SBC and NYCC Councillor Mike Cockerill – now Chair of the SBC Whitby Harbour Board – was also reported to the Standards Committee, on similar charges). The upshot was a protracted investigation and a two-day hearing at Sneaton Castle – at no small cost to the public purse (approaching ten thousand pounds). Three of the four were exonerated; the fourth (Councillor Steve Smith) escaped with a minimal sanction of ‘re-training’.

    I put it to you that the infractions outlined above are of a patently higher order of magnitude. No reasonable or prudent man (or woman) could conceivably condone the unauthorised use of Scarborough Borough Council headed paper for the purpose of levelling fictitious allegations of a defamatory nature. Without doubt, this conduct falls well outside of the letter and spirit of the Code of Conduct and, equally so, the standards that the electorate are entitled to demand from those in positions of trust serving the public interest.

    Failure to address these breaches of the Code of Conduct runs the risk of bringing the Standards Committee itself into disrepute – already, people in Whitby are speaking derisively of the “Double Standards Committee”.

    I am in no doubt that you are in possession of all the correspondence in these cases; the burden does not fall upon me to reproduce them here.

    I hope, therefore, that I can entrust to you the task of laying these matters before the Standards Committee.

    Councillor Tom Brown has assured me that he will confirm to you his status as co-signatory under separate cover, copying me in as he does so.

    I leave the matter in your very capable hands.

    Regards,

    Nigel

    Cc: WTC Councillor Tom Brown
    Cc: Mr Michael GOODE – Chairman: Standards Committee – SBC
    ________________________________________________

    More on the Code of Conduct here:

    http://www.real-whitby.co.uk/whos-complaining

  2. Nigel Ward Reply

    March 13, 2012 at 9:46 am

    ‎—– Original Message —–
    From: Nigel
    To: LISA DIXON
    Cc: Gill Wilkinson
    Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 9:44 AM
    Subject: STANDARDS COMMITTEE – pour encourager les autres [4]

    Ms Lisa DIXON – Acting Head of Legal & Support Services and Monitoring Officer – SBC

    Re: Serious violations of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct by Appointees to the Whitby Harbour Board

    Lisa,

    I think that we can now safely assume that Ian Anderson is unlikely, at this late stage, to honour his word, given to me in company of Richard Ineson at each of the last two meetings of the Whitby Harbour Board, to address the fully documented matter of the very serious violations of the Councillor’s Code of Conduct by co-opted (appointed) members of the Whitby Harbour Board, Mssrs Black and Hornigold. That duty now devolves to you in your present capacity as Acting Monitoing Officer. (Please refer to the appended ‘thread’ of correspondence on this subject. Thank you).

    Following the unlawful eviction of Richard Ineson from yesterday’s meeting of the Whitby Harbour Users’ Stakeholders’ Steering Group, I am now of the opinion that the entire documentation and correspondence surrounding the actions of Mssrs Hornigold and Black MUST form the substance of a Complaint against those two Appointees under the terms of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct, lest the public believes that these co-opted public servants are in some sense above the law.

    You will locate the necessary documentation and correspondence in the possession of Ian Anderson, Whitby Town Council, Whitby Town Mayor Councillor John Freeman, Councillor Ian Havelock, and Councillor Dennis Collins.

    Please progress this as a matter of urgency.

    Yours, with very kind regards,

    Nigel

  3. Colin Winspear Reply

    March 14, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Surely it’s the Whitby Harbour Users Consultative Group Mr Ward? By referring to them as the Whitby Harbour Users Stakeholders Steering Group you could be seen to be referring to someone else.

  4. admin Reply

    March 14, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Hi Colin, could you please explain to me where Mr Ward refers to them as “Whitby Harbour Users Stakeholders Steering Group”

  5. Harold Locker Reply

    March 14, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    The penultimate paragraph of the post prior to Mr Winspear’s

    “Following the unlawful eviction of Richard Ineson from yesterday’s meeting of the Whitby Harbour Users’ Stakeholders’ Steering Group, I am now of the opinion that the entire documentation and correspondence surrounding the actions of Mssrs Hornigold and Black MUST form the substance of a Complaint against those two Appointees under the terms of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct, lest the public believes that these co-opted public servants are in some sense above the law.”

  6. admin Reply

    March 14, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Thankyou Harold.

  7. Becky Tilson Reply

    March 14, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    So what is the exact, real name of this group/committee or whichever they are.

    • Colin Winspear Reply

      March 15, 2012 at 2:32 pm

      Their official title is The Whitby Harbour Users Consultative Group Miss Tilson


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