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Councillors accuse officials at Highland Council of a 'co-ordinated effort' to undermine scrutiny

TWO councillors cleared of wrongdoing by a national watchdog have accused officials at Highland Council who referred them for investigation of mounting “a co-ordinated effort” against criticism.

Conservatives Andrew Jarvie (Inverness South) and Struan Mackie (Thurso and Northwest Caithness) were referred to the Ethical Standards Commissioner over remarks related to a pay-off package granted to a former council director last year.

The council complained that Cllr Jarvie had made an “inaccurate and misleading” statement about the pay-off, presenting it in a “misleading and provocative manner” as well as naming the director in public.

Cllr Mackie was referred after the pay-off and ongoing council reforms were criticised in satirical magazine Private Eye in October.

In response to that article, a statement was released in which council leader Margaret Davidson said chief executive Donna Manson ‘has the full support of the council’.

Cllr Mackie emailed to ask on what basis she made that claim when “the matter has not been tested by the elected membership?”

This was then the basis of a complaint alleging “bullying and harassment” of the chief executive. Both councillors were found by the commissioner to be simply doing their job in scrutinising council business. Full article available here:


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