William Eichler 13 April 2018

Cheshire councillor investigating misconduct suspended

The Cheshire East Council councillor investigating two senior officers over concerns about the way contracts were awarded has been asked to ‘step down’.

The council said it has received information which ‘raises concerns’ about the actions taken by Cllr Howard Murray while serving on the authority’s Investigation and Disciplinary Committee (IDC).

Cheshire East has not provided any information over what the concerns are, but in a statement published on Wednesday it said ‘further investigations will need to be undertaken.’

A council spokesperson said: ‘This is a neutral act, intended to protect Cllr Murray and the council from concerns of a similar nature arising whilst the matter is considered further.

‘The council is considering very carefully whether this matter is capable of having any adverse impact on the work undertaken by the committees to date.

‘Early indications are that the work of the committees to date is not affected by the concerns raised.’

The disciplinary committee has been investigating alleged misconduct by the former chief executive Mike Suarez and chief operating officer Peter Bates. Both have been suspended.

The former chief legal officer Bill Norman has also been suspended but he resigned last December.

The vice-chairman of the IDC, Cllr Margaret Simon, will act as chairman on an interim basis until the matter concerning Cllr Murray has been resolved.

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