A third senior member of staff has been suspended by Cheshire East Council, with chief operating officer Peter Bates the latest employee to be removed from duty.
The local authority’s investigation and disciplinary committee met yesterday to further consider its concerns about officer conduct. The committee reviewed its previous decisions regarding Bates, who had been working on reduced duties, with the decision being taken to suspend him.
A statement issued by Cllr Howard Murray, chairman of the investigation and disciplinary committee, said: “We would stress that suspension is a neutral act taken in the interests of both the council and the individual. It would be inappropriate to make any further comment at this stage.”
Appropriate arrangements will be put in place to ensure that the responsibilities of Bates’ role are covered, the council said.
Chief executive Mike Suarez was suspended in April – since which time his duties have been carried out by deputy Kath O’Dwyer – with head of legal services Bill Norman following in July.
Recent years have seen Cheshire East become involved in various controversies over the conduct of both elected members and officers, along with the council becoming embroiled in a series of legal wrangles over development. This has been another troubled year for the council, with Cheshire Constabulary launching an investigation into the manipulation of air quality data between 2012 and 2014.
The investigation and disciplinary committee is due to reconvene next Monday, 11 December.