Council chief probe costs £34k

A THREE-DAY disciplinary hearing into the actions of a senior council director has cost taxpayers nearly £34,000. Last November North

A THREE-DAY disciplinary hearing into the actions of a senior council director has cost taxpayers nearly £34,000.Last November North Somerset Council's director of children and young people's services, Colin Diamond, was brought before a five-councillor panel and found guilty of six allegations of misconduct.Figures revealed by North Somerset Council under the Freedom of Information Act show the total cost of the investigation was £33,996. This is broken down by the cost of legal and expert advice to the disciplinary panel, which totalled £16,411, an internal audit which cost £5,983, the legal and expert advice to a panel which had to decide if disciplinary action should be taken, which amounted to £10,972 and nine hours work by a solicitor, which cost £630.Weston & Somerset Mercury reader, Colin Hunt, who lives in Ringwood Road, Weston, submitted the request for information to find out more about the Colin Diamond affair.Mr Hunt, who owns a business in Weston, said: "I think the cost of the investigation was expensive and unnecessary."The money could have been better spent elsewhere."It's a bit of a steamroller to crack a nut and I don't like the system."Mr Diamond faced seven allegations last year, including one that he had made an unlawful payment of £10,000 and had failed to inform members of the council's executive of his decisions. He was found guilty of six charges and given a written warning.North Somerset Council leader, Alan Hockridge, said: "Democracy and giving a fair hearing costs money."The fact of the matter is that if enquiries happen they have to be done properly and this was done according to the book.


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