Councillor rapped in abuse claims probe

Deborah Barker EMN-140108-114055001
Deborah Barker EMN-140108-114055001

Caistor Town Councillor Deborah Barker has been rapped by council officials over claims she was abusive to a visitor from New Zealand.

Dorothy Anderson of South Street, Caistor, said Coun Barker made offensive comments to her daughter in a town pub, while she was visiting family.

Mrs Anderson complained to West Lindsey District Council, believing the councillor, who also chairs Caistor in Bloom, had failed to observe Caistor Town Council’s Code of Conduct.

A WLDC panel discussed the complaint on July 24, which was judged by monitoring officer Alan Robinson.

“Your complaint has been fully reviewed, and it has been concluded that the Council’s Code of Conduct for members cannot be applied in this case as Councillor Mrs D Barker was not acting in her capacity as a Councillor at the time of the alleged incident. As this matter is not subject to the Code of Conduct it is impossible to take any formal action under the Standards regime,” said a Notice of Decision sent to Mrs Anderson.

“It was considered that the alleged behaviour appears totally inappropriate. It could be seen as being detrimental to the public image of a local councillor, and by reflection it could be harmful to the Town Council. Because of this, the letter sent to Mrs D Barker informing her of my decision, as monitoring officer, will also detail the views expressed by those I consulted with.

“Sometimes the actions of individuals fall well below acceptable standards of behaviour, and whilst I would not condone this behaviour for holders of public office, the current standards regime is only applicable whilst undertaking what would be deemed official duties/ acting in official capacity,” it said.

Mrs Anderson was disappointed the council could not act but was “pleased that she (Coun Barker) will be informed that her behaviour falls below the standard expected of a town councillor and could be very harmful to the image of our town council.”

Coun Barker told the Rasen Mail: “Might I say you are the very first person to actually contact me on an incident that has been blown out of all proportion and I refute these allegations totally.”