Two councillors subject of conflict of interest complaint

A complaint has been lodged about two SIC councillors who took part and voted in a debate about funding the Shetland Livestock Marketing Group (SLMG), which they are members of.

The Standards Commission will investigate whether Shetland South member Jim Budge and Addie Doull of Shetland North broke the code of conduct designed to prevent public figures abusing their position.

The two councillors and another SLMG member, Bill Manson, declared an interest at the start of the development committee meeting on 22nd January but Mr Manson went further, declaring that as a director of the group until recently, he would take no part in the debate, which was held in public.

Mr Budge, a former chairman of SLMG, went on to take an active part in proceedings, proposing that the group be granted £25,000 to pay for an urgent business review. He was seconded by Mr Doull. The pair won the vote but lost out to a subsequent proposal to half the grant.

No council lawyers were present to offer advice at the meeting but two representatives of the council’s legal and administration division service, which advises councillors on protocol and ensures they follow procedures correctly, were there. Chairman Josie Simpson did not attempt to intervene to stop Mr Budge and Mr Doull taking part.

The debate was a hot tempered one because of opposition to a proposed slaughterhouse and meat factory in a housing estate in Scalloway which SLMG might operate if it survives its current near-bankruptcy.

The anonymous complaint was submitted to the Standards Commission at the end of last month.


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