The “self-obsessed, selfish and lackluster” councilors are costing Middlesbrough Council dearly because they keep complaining about each other, the city mayor said.
Complaints among board members have jumped to 12 this year, compared to just four in 2020 and nine in 2019.
Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said investigating complaints was too costly.
The council’s standards committee said there was a need to address a “low tolerance to cut and thrust of debate.”
In total, 29 complaints have been filed with the board so far this year, said the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
This includes the 12 council members while the other 17 were made by council officials or the public.
Of the 29, two were withdrawn and 16 were resolved informally.
Preston, who presented himself as an independent, said: “There are some brilliant advisors here, but there are also too many self-obsessed, selfish and frankly not very bright people trying to cause trouble for the sake of their own self-promotion. .
“Politics in Middlesbrough features a significant number of people trying to cause problems for others by making official complaints about them by citing all sorts of false allegations, from bullying to just about anything they can imagine.
“Each of these complaints cost Middlesbrough taxpayers thousands of pounds in council time and resources.”
In 2020, there were 31 complaints, four from members and 27 from others – 16 of these were not pursued, 12 were rejected and two were resolved informally.
The mayor himself was not immune to the criticism of the councilors.
In May, five senior councilors – including Preston’s deputy – resigned after complaining of “consistently bad conduct and behavior” and asked him to resign.
In response, Preston wrote on Facebook that allegations of spending £ 600,000 without official approval and of appointing and paying a friend without following proper procedures were “unfounded”.
“Tolerance is in short supply”
Preston added: “I want to see a cultural shift in Middlesbrough Council that puts an end to this outrageous waste of time and money and that all councilors focus on putting Middlesbrough first.”
The standards committee report added: “We have to consider whether there is a culture that has developed within Middlesbrough to have a low tolerance for the usual cut and thrust of political debate.
“We also need to know if some of the complaints have been of a retaliatory nature, with complaints filed by and against the same members regarding the same issue.”
Labor group council leader Matt Storey said, “Tolerance is a virtue that is in short supply in politics these days.
“Politics must not be poisonous or antagonistic”.
The board’s report says social media comments from members have been responsible for a large number of complaints, with online posts accounting for 12 grievances in 2019, 14 in 2020, and 14 in 2021 to date.
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