Councillor had 'bullying manner' say pensioners

PUBLISHED: 09:15 17 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:13 11 May 2010

A COUNCILLOR branded arrogant and a bully by a group of pensioners could face disciplinary action. South Cambridgeshire district council s standards committee is considering whether to take action against Cllr Mark Howell, the portfolio holder for hou

A COUNCILLOR branded "arrogant" and a "bully" by a group of pensioners could face disciplinary action.

South Cambridgeshire district council's standards committee is considering whether to take action against Cllr Mark Howell, the portfolio holder for housing, after three people complained about his conduct at a meeting to discuss changes to sheltered housing wardens at the John Impey Way sheltered housing scheme in Melbourn.

One of the complainants, Clive Porter, said in his letter: "From the outset Cllr Howell conducted himself in an arrogant and bombastic manner.

"At one stage he pointed an accusing finger at the group of residents and vehemently accused them of being the reason for the cutting back of the scheme managers from the council's sheltered scheme."

The meeting, which took place last month, was held to explain the district council's plan to remove dedicated wardens from the scheme and replace them with a roving team covering the entire district.

Last year council housing tenants rejected a plan to transfer their homes to a private housing association, and as a result of this the district council needs to make a saving of £800,000. The changes to the wardens scheme are part of a raft of measures which will reform the council's housing department.

Another of the complainants, Ian Raymen, said: "The whole experience was likened to a one-man amateur dramatic show entitled 'I told you so'.

"When I suggested that the proposal to leave the rolling wardens to decide who would qualify for care was passing the buck, he turned on me expressing his anger and unbuttoned his coat in what appeared to be a threatening and bullying manner."

A spokesman for the district council said that it had received three complaints, and that its standards committee would consider whether to take the matter further this week. A further statement is expected later this week.

She added that none of the parties involved would make any further comment until the matter is resolved.

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