Six councillors call for investigation into allegations of ‘misconduct’ by chief executive

Six SIC councillors are demanding an investigation into allegations of misconduct by chief executive David Clark, The Shetland Times can reveal.

In a letter to convener Sandy Cluness, the councillors – services committee chairman Gussie Angus, Shetland South councillor Allison Duncan, member for Shetland West Gary Robinson, Shetland Central councillor Andrew Hughson and Lerwick South members Cecil Smith and Jonathan Wills – ask for the complaints to be looked at thoroughly. One of them, Dr Wills, is calling for Mr Clark to be suspended while this happens.

The move could prove to be a significant escalation in the ongoing troubles at the Town Hall between the chief executive and certain councillors following allegations by Dr Wills earlier this year that Mr Clark threatened him with violence during a phone call.

Mr Clark was cleared of any wrongdoing following an initial hearing by three councillors, an investigation by a representative of local government umbrella body Cosla and a further hearing by five councillors. Police dropped their investigation into the allegation.

The six councillors believe that Mr Clark is to blame for failing to establish and maintain a satisfactory working relationship with councillors. Mr Clark said he was unaware of any complaint.

Most of the complaints in the letter from the councillors to Mr Cluness are related to issues already in the public domain, namely:

•  Mr Clark’s role in “deleting” the post of assistant chief executive Willie Shannon. They are also concerned about the role played by the SIC’s political leadership in the debacle which has seen Mr Shannon off work for more than three months.

• The allegation that Mr Clark spent an afternoon drinking with former business associate Andrew Laidler in his Town Hall office, which the six members maintain has never been properly investigated.

• Concern over the awarding of the contract to carry out an independent review into where the new Anderson High School should be sited to Mr Laidler. They allege that proper procedures were not followed in the awarding of the contract, which eventually cost the council £22,345.

Mr Cluness refused to make any comment on the letter. However, sources close to the convener said five, not six, councillors had made a complaint.


Add Your Comment
  • Greybeard

    • December 8th, 2009 18:55

    This is becoming the most boring story of the decade. Nothing new is ever said. It is amusing that those who complain most vociferously that the Council is riven with strife and thus annoying the public are those who are trying to keep the story alive. It reminds me of intrigues in university student unions of forty years ago, or the Common bar …

  • Jonathan Wills

    • December 8th, 2009 20:47

    You report that “Mr Clark was cleared of any wrongdoing following an investigation by local government umbrella body Cosla [into allegations that he made a threatening phone call] .”
    This is not correct. The investigation was by the council, not Cosla. If Cosla had done it the job would have been done properly.
    The council lawyers remained silent throughout the hearing on 8th October so the witnesses and evidence were not properly examined. And, far from Mr Clark being “cleared”, the inquiry came to a not proven verdict. This is not surprising because the investigation did not consider the balance of probability, which a court would have done if considering an allegation that a breach of the peace had been committed. An abusive phone call is a crime, by the way.

    Cllr. Jonathan Wills
    Independent, Lerwick South.

  • Greybeard

    • December 9th, 2009 7:28

    You see what I mean!


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