Unlike last year when she first supported calls for Mayor Dr Nik Johnson to resign when her seconding of a motion to that effect failed, Cllr Anna Bailey has again demanded he resigns. The East Cambridgeshire District Council leader has, however, couched her resignation calls today in a flurry of mind blowing and serious allegations.
These follow the conclusion of yesterday’s code of conduct hearing into Mayor Johnson that led to him issuing a public apology and agreeing to undertake HR training.
In part of her brutal, angry attack she even goes so far as to allege Mayor Nik Johnson “has failed the people involved, he has breached the code of conduct, and I would have thought, the Hippocratic Oath.”
And she said: “The sanctions available to the hearings panel and imposed by them fall woefully short of recognising the seriousness of the events that have taken place over the last two years.”
It prompted an immediate response from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.
Their spokesperson said: “Commenting, or making speculative claims, and or statements, at this stage is inappropriate and risks identifying individuals involved throughout the independent process.”
Cllr Bailey was firing on all cylinders with a ‘statement’ on social media castigating the alleged £1.1m costs “arising directly from the conduct of the Mayor and his office”.
She alleged the costs include “pay outs to avoid employment claims, personal protection and security equipment”.
Cllr Bailey also alleged – plucking information from somewhere other than documents available in the public domain – that the costs also included “money for psychiatric counselling, mediation between the Mayor and the chief executive, legal fees, investigation fees, auditing fees, and additional costs for expensive interim staff”.
She also told the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority – where she is a board member – that it “will come to regret” not publishing the independent investigator’s report that formed the basis of the conduct probe.
“Four members of staff have received significant pay outs on leaving the organisation in order to avoid employment claims against the authority,” she alleged.
“Some staff, including senior staff, were issued with personal protection and security equipment”.
And in an extraordinary further allegation she said: “The authority funded psychiatric counselling for some staff. A junior member of staff was instructed not to be alone in the office with the Mayor.
“The authority reported incidents to the police”.
Cllr Bailey even claimed that the calls last year for the Mayor to suspend himself were “in order to safeguard staff during ongoing investigations”.
But it is the concluding remarks of her statement that are bound to cause the greatest controversy.
Cllr Bailey added: “My thoughts are with the victims in this case, for that is what they are, those who have suffered terribly, whose stories remain unknown.
“I apologise to all those staff that have suffered at the hands of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority; the authority has failed you.
“We all have a duty to call out bad behaviour, to protect others and be decent human beings.
“For elected members the code of conduct takes that further, and for a qualified practising doctor there is an overriding promise to ‘do no harm’. Mayor Nik Johnson has failed the people involved, he has breached the code of conduct, and I would have thought, the Hippocratic Oath.”
And in a parting shot to a statement that must rate as one of the most hate ridden documents of any Cambridgeshire council leader in modern times, she added: “He has certainly failed at being a decent human being.
“Mayor Nik Johnson should resign”.
Statement from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority
A Combined Authority spokesperson said: “Details of payments to individuals above a certain threshold are made public in the annual statement of accounts. The threshold for determining which details are published is contained with the Combined Authority’s constitution and align with the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015.
“Throughout the investigation we have protected the identity of individuals and have given regard to data protection laws and natural justice.
“Yesterday the panel hearing unanimously agreed not to publish the investigator’s report, instead agreeing to publish background information within a decision notice later within five working days of the panel hearing meeting.
“The Combined Authority has have never sought to interfere with the ongoing investigation or the panel hearing process.
“The cross-party panel hearing was chaired by an independent chair, and we respect the unanimous decision they reached. As a result, we will not be commenting further at this stage.
“It would be inappropriate to make any comment on allegations about what is contained within the confidential report from the independent investigator.
“Commenting, or making speculative claims, and or statements, at this stage is inappropriate and risks identifying individuals involved throughout the independent process.”
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