Posted: Tue 9th Apr 2019

10 year old “secret“ recording at “the heart” of Flintshire councillors fallout

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Apr 9th, 2019

A 10-year-old “secret recording” is the heart of a bitter fallout between two senior Flintshire councillors Wales Online has claimed.

A story published today claims North Wales Police confirmed it recently carried out an investigation into an “allegation of misconduct in public office involving Flintshire County Council.”

The story written by Wales Online Chief Reporter Martin Shipton states “The inquiry did not result in any criminal charges.”

WalesOnline says it has “heard a recording of a secretly taped conversation between councillors Aaron Shotton and Bernie Attridge which sparked the inquiry.”

The news organisation says the recording is “is ridden with expletives and contains defamatory allegations” which has prevented it from publishing the recording.

“The two men discussed the appointment of a senior council official which occurred more than a decade ago.”

“Copies of the tape recording from more than a decade ago have recently been sent to serving councillors and others.” Wales Online says.

Cllr Aaron Shotton stepped down from his role Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance last Wednesday

Pressure had been mounting on Cllr Shotton following his decision to sack his number two Cllr Bernie Attridge.

Cllr Shotton said in a statement, he had decided to resign his post “In the interests of the mental health and wellbeing of myself and my family”

He also said he strongly felt “that in order to heal the political divisions that have emerged in recent days, it is now necessary to step aside from the role of Council Leader.”

Councillor Bernie Attridge was dismissed as deputy council leader at the end of March by Cllr Shotton for an alleged breach of confidence.

A full council meeting will take place today where a new leader is expected to be named, it follows a turbulent few weeks for Flintshire Council.

During a ‘behind closed doors’ session at today’s meeting, a grievance committee will hear details of a complaint made by a senior council officer “arising out of the police investigation.” Wales Online says.

A statement on the council’s website says: “The JNC [Joint Negotiating Committee] terms and conditions of employment which apply to the chief executive and chief officers, provide for grievances submitted by senior officers to be heard by a grievance committee of councillors if they cannot be resolved by mediation. The council has received such a grievance and so a committee needs to be convened.”

Detective Inspector Chris Bell of North Wales Police said: “We received a report of alleged misconduct in public office at Flintshire County Council.

“A number of individuals attended voluntary interviews under caution and following a thorough investigation it was concluded that there was not enough evidence to proceed.

The investigation has closed and no further police action taken.”

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