Chief executive facing six week wait for investigation into allegation by councillor
Shetland Islands Council chief executive David Clark may have to wait six weeks to learn his fate while an investigator assesses the allegation by councillor Jonathan Wills that he was threatened with violence during a telephone call.
On Wednesday council convener Sandy Cluness granted Mr Clark extended leave during the inquiry process and praised him for the “professional and dignified manner” in which he was conducting himself during the affair.
After a private meeting lasting over an hour-and-a-half, councillors appointed five of their number to sit on an investigating committee which will co-ordinate the inquiry.
An independent investigator nominated by the Scottish local government body Cosla is in the process of being appointed. In accordance with national procedure, he or she will report their findings to the investigating committee which will make a recommendation for action to the Full Council.
At a press conference late on Wednesday afternoon the convener told reporters the council was committed to pursuing its own investigation despite confirmation on Tuesday that the Shetland police are no longer pursuing their criminal investigation into the same complaint made by Dr Wills.
But Mr Cluness confirmed that the independent investigator would have the power to halt proceedings if it was concluded that no further steps needed to be taken.
A separate complaint from Dr Wills about Mr Clark drinking in his Town Hall office with friend and business associate Andrew Laidler has already been investigated and dismissed by a panel of three councillors.
Dr Wills chose to leave Wednesday’s meeting shortly after it started, followed shortly afterwards by councillor Caroline Miller.
Meanwhile, assistant chief executive Willie Shannon is still on leave with full pay while discussions takeplace between his lawyers and those of the council regarding the axing of his post by Mr Clark.