Sunday, April 02, 2006

Another Lincs Tory Leader thrown out of office.

The Tory who took over the leadership of Lincolnshire County Council from jailed Jim Speechley has himself been banned from holding public office for 15 months.

I understand that the Standards Board of England and Wales has decided that Bourne councillor Ian Croft breached the code of conduct in his actions following the jailing of his predessessor Jim Speechley.

Jim Speechley was jailed for 18 months in 2004 for misconduct in public office after he tried to alter the route of a bypass to enhance the value of land he owned near Crowland.

The Standards Board hearing heard that Mr Croft wanted revenge after former Chief Executive of the Council David Bowles became whistle-blower, called in the police and gave evidence against Speechley.

The board found that Ian Croft had consistently undermined Mr Bowles.

He took over Leadership of the Council after Speechley was finally forced to step down. But as the police investigated Speechley, Councillor Croft wrote to the council solicitors asking that Mr Bowles' contract be terminated.

Six months later, when Mr Bowles was off work with stress, he was ordered not to return to work. He disregarded this notice which was issued through the council's solicitors.

Eventually, David Bowles said his job had become impossible. He agreed to go in a settlement that cost Lincolnshire ratepayers close on half a million pounds.

The Standards Board found Mr Croft was in breach of nine counts relating to the code of conduct demanded of people in public office.

Ian Croft was forced to resign as leader in March 2005 after one of the most damning reports into a council ever issued by the Audit Commission.

Two months later, the good people of Bourne re-elected Ian Croft as their councillor.

But now they will have to elect someone else!

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