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0 votes
Hi everyone, after a bit of advice.

Earlier this week the Mayor and Chair (same person) was re-elected, the previous deputy Mayor was also re-elected as it has been a turbulent year so everyone wanted a bit of stability.
The deputy Mayor was really mad this happened, they expected to be voted Mayor as some sort of right of passage. Unfortunately councillors voted otherwise.

The problem is what occurred afterwards as the deputy Mayor has used both their professional and personal public Facebook page to write several posts and comments accusing the council and councillors of being bullies and breaking the code of conduct. For clarity, I believe they think this because they were humiliated (their words) as their family was present during the vote as they expected to become Mayor.
This has been reported to me so I have been in touch with the borough’s monitoring officer who has sent the code of conduct along with the arrangements for dealing with allegations. I’ve told councillors that we need to follow this process.
Some councillors want me to contact the deputy Mayor and tell them to remove said posts, I’ve said I can’t do this as it needs to be dealt with in the appropriate manner. Yes it could be done informally but after recent previous false and inaccurate Facebook posts, I do feel it’s time to make this more formal.

I’m still new to being a clerk so I am doing the right thing here not telling her to remove the posts?
I appreciate your advice as always!
by (280 points)

3 Answers

0 votes
Firstly I should stress you are perfectly within your right to follow the formal guidance issued by your principal authority (borough in your case) democratic services & monitoring officers and seek formal resolution through that external process. Anyone can trigger that (including themselves if they self refer)
If it is an out of character one off outburst I've always taken a very lightouch approach. I try to let things calm down without doing anything that could escalate (like triggering a formal process that is often protracted and unsatisfactory outcome in any event).
You allude to previous problematic posts & previous turbulence so seemingly not the case for you. Were any of these instances dealt with informally? If so it didnt work.. so from afar perhaps it is time to actually do something
Just touching briefly on the Mayoral "informal customs & expectations" that exists/existed within some chambers has always been problematic and a source of chain throwing temper tantrums up and down the land. We need to banish the concept of "right of passage" and get back to Chairs/Mayors been picked purely on ability across the board. I keep watching too many good Town Councils dragged down by ineffective 12 months with pitiful Mayor who cant control meetings.
by (9.1k points)
0 votes
You can tell them what ever you want to. Whether they choose to listen or do anything is entirely their choice though.
It someone thinks there is a potential breach of CoC, it can be reported to MO for investigation if anyone is sufficiently bothered and it might pass the threshold for investigation.
MO might find a breach and even still, there is no way to compel the removal of a comment.
That’s just the reality of it.
If they want to make a public post, they can and unless it someone takes a private civil action you’re wasting your time.
You can ask…..
by (21.7k points)
0 votes
I would consider whether it might actually be better to leave the post up. If what they've written is complete nonsense and highlights errors that the deputy themselves has made, leaving it up could serve well to highlight why they weren't selected to be mayor. For example, if they were being bullied, why not raise the complaint instead of ranting on social media? People will ask those questions and quickly realise what's going on even if they don't say so publicly. Sometimes, less is more and the lack of response because the Council hasn't got anything to answer for is a more powerful message than reacting and it certainly avoids you (as clerk) falling out of "the neutral zone".

In my experience, people genuinely downtrodden and deflated through bullying don't generally take to social media at the first opportunity to speak out about their ordeal. They typically (and wrongly) feel embarrassed/ashamed/upset by the situation and want to avoid drawing attention to it in case it made the situation worse. The "B" word is used all too easily by those who want a bit of attention and it detracts from the very real and harmful cases actually going on.
by (990 points)

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