Councillor's U-turn over counselling
A COUNCILLOR branded uncooperative by the Standards Board after failing to undergo counselling has done a U-turn.
Winton East councillor Anson Westbrook was ordered by the Standards Board of Bournemouth Borough Council to undergo "supportive training" after a woman complained he made offensive remarks.
The Board found that comments made by Cllr Anson Westbrook caused "distress" to the woman and breached the local code of conduct.
Cllr Westbrook was said to have made the comments at Winton Resource Centre on April 13 last year which offended the woman, known only as Miss A, and others at the centre.
Members of the Standards Board found that Cllr Westbrook failed to treat the woman and others at the centre with respect and ordered him to undergo "supportive training". However at this week's Standards Board meeting members heard that Cllr Westbrook has "not commenced any part of this".
Board member Cllr Anne Rey said: "We have got two issues here. Cllr Westbrook doesn't like what the board decided. If he wants to appeal the decision there is an appeal procedure".
The meeting also heard that Cllr Westbrook's reasons for not beginning the Supportive Training Plan were "woolly" and that he had criticised council officers.
The time limit for an appeal process has now expired, the meeting heard.
The meeting agreed to "reaffirm" their original decision and that Cllr Westbrook should be contacted with a view to setting up a new timetable for his Supportive Training Plan.
Cllr Westbrook told the Echo: "I think there was a bit of misinformation there between the officers. It wasn't my fault. They haven't supplied me with the dates. I've already done my apology. If that is what they wish to happen that will be done.
"I've got nothing to be ashamed of."
A spokesman for Bournemouth Borough Council said that since the meeting Cllr Westbrook has told them he will co-operate with the board's decision.
Source: Dorset Echo (02/03/2007)
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