Filey councillor faces conduct charge in row over town clerk

AN allegation of improper conduct has been made against a Filey ward councillor – who will now be investigated by a monitoring officer at Scarborough Council.

It is alleged Cllr Mike Cockerill sought to use his position to disadvantage a candidate for the job of Whitby town clerk, and that he did not treat her with respect in the way he behaved. He is also accused of disclosing confidential information that was "not in the public interest".

This summer, Whitby Town Council appointed former Filey town clerk Pam Dobson to the position, despite the vocal opposition of three Whitby councillors who threatened to quit over the appointment.

Mrs Dobson left her job at Filey Town Council several years ago to take up the post of town clerk at Marlborough Town Council in Wiltshire. She started working for Whitby Town Council in August.

The same three Whitby councillors who protested against her appointment have now also become the subject of complaints – and all four were referred to the monitoring officer by a council committee which met last Friday. The complainant in Cllr Cockerill's case was Whitby town councillor Sue Boyce.

Cllr Cockerill was a Filey town councillor at the same time as Mrs Dobson was Filey town clerk.

According to Scarborough Council's code of conduct, councillors must treat others with respect and must not disclose information given in confidence or of a confidential nature, except in specific circumstances including when it is "reasonable and in the public interest".

If the complaint is upheld, the committee has the power to suspend Cllr Cockerill for up three months.

Cllr Cockerill told the Mercury: "It would be inappropriate for me to comment, but I totally reject the allegation."