Councillor declares war on chief

OPEN warfare has today broken out between the leader of the Conservative opposition on Ipswich council and the authority's chief executive.Tory councillor Stephen Barker accused council officers of acting without any restraints when he was asked what alleged misconduct had led to him facing an adjudication panel hearing.

OPEN warfare has today broken out between the leader of the Conservative opposition on Ipswich council and the authority's chief executive.

Tory councillor Stephen Barker accused council officers of acting without any restraints when he was asked what alleged misconduct had led to him facing an adjudication panel hearing.

The Evening Star revealed last week that Mr Barker and fellow Tory Gordon Terry had been summoned to a panel hearing in February to answer charges of misconduct.

Mr Barker has been accused of showing disrespect and compromising the political neutrality of a council official while Mr Terry is accused of failing to declare an interest.


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When the hearing was first revealed, Mr Barker refused to comment on it – but at this week's council meeting fellow Tory David Hale asked him what the allegations were all about.

Mr Barker said he had not said anything in the first incidence because he had been told the matter was confidential. But because the government's Standards Board had given some details he wanted to put his side.

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"A member of Ipswich Borough Council staff was asked to explain a future paper coming to the executive," he said.

"The officer was evasive in answering our questions and asked permission from Labour politicians before doing so.

"I wrote a letter of complaint about the conduct and this was sent to the chief executive who reported me to the standards board.

"We are accountable to the electorate and the officers can do what they like," he said.

Chief executive James Hehir said it would be inappropriate for him to make any comment before the adjudication board sits. It is due to consider the allegations in February.

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