Labour Leader of North East Derbyshire told to resign after verbally attacking member of the public

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Labour Leader of North East Derbyshire District Council made a political attack on Lib Dem campaigner, Ross Shipman as he question him for an explanation over why the Council would no longer be audio recording and publishing meetings online at the District Council meeting held on 21st May 2018.

As part of the public speaking section of the meeting, Mr Shipman “Given that on 5th March the Council managed to record and publish the meeting online – can the Leader of the Council give a explanation why it will not continue audio record and publish them on the website for the benefit of North East Derbyshire residents, many of whom, like me, are unable to attend these meetings due to work?”

Cllr Baxter gave a brief summary of previous events but was unable to give any reason why the Council did not support it in the future.

He then went into a political rant in the Council chamber, accusing Ross of supporting the conservative party austerity measure, an accusation explicitly denied by Ross – who only became a member of the Liberal Democrats in July 2015 – as ‘slanderous’.

The leader went on to ‘hope that [Ross is] never elected to North East Derbyshire Council’ 

Ross asked for an apology, which was denied by the outgoing Chair of the Council, Cllr Rosie Smith. (full footage of the exchange can be seen below)

After the meeting, Ross said:

Leader of North East Derbyshire District Council, Graham Baxter has been called upon to resign from his position with immediate effect following his conduct at the meeting, Ross added:

He went on to say:

Ross has submitted a formal complaint against Cllr Graham Baxter to Sarah Sternberg who is the Monitoring Officer for North East Derbyshire District Council – full text of the complaint can be seen below.

“Dear Sarah,

I would like to make a formal complaint against the Leader of North East Derbyshire District Council, Cllr Graham Baxter following his conduct at the meeting today (21st May 2018).
Firstly, he failed to provide an answer to my question which asked for an explanation why the Council would not continue to audio record the meetings, he merely stated previous events that had occurred.
Secondly, as a member of the public, i do not think the leader of the authority should be politically attacking me – his behaviour was out of order and is not the behaviour one would expect from someone of his office.
I am also concerned about his slanderous comment “you supported a Conservative government during a period of austerity” – He needs to publicly retract that in a Council meeting as it is simply untrue and an attack on my character.
He also made the statement “Not you because you aren’t on this Council and hopefully never will be” – I am really not happy and quite alarmed in fact, that an elected representatives is allowed to be discouraging people from standing in an election – especially the leader of the Council who should be setting an example.
I believe his outburst and failure to provide an answer to my question today were in breach of the following:
“ACCOUNTABILITY: Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.”  (Page 185 of the constitution)

“SELFLESSNESS: Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest”

 (Page 185 of the constitution)
“HONESTY: Holders of public office should be truthful. ”   (Page 185 of the constitution)
” LEADERSHIP: Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.”   (Page 185 of the constitution)
“Contributing to making the Council’s decision-making processes as open and transparent as possible. I will do this by allowing residents to access information they are entitled to by law, helping them to understand the reasoning behind the decisions taken and enabling them to be informed when holding me and other members to account.”  (Page 186 of the constitution)
“Listening to the interests of all parties, including relevant advice from statutory and other professional officers, taking all relevant information into consideration, remaining objective and making decisions on merit.”  (Page 186 of the constitution)

” Being accountable for my decisions and co-operating when scrutinised internally and externally, including by local residents.”

(Page 186 of the constitution)

” Valuing my colleagues and staff and engaging with them in an appropriate manner and one that underpins the mutual respect between us that is essential to good local government.”

(Page 187 of the constitution)
“Always treating people with respect, including the organisations and public I engage with and those I work alongside. ” (Page 187 of the constitution)
“Providing leadership through behaving in accordance with these principles when championing the interests of the community, with other organisations, as well as within this Authority.”  (Page 187 of the constitution)
Cllr Baxter should issue a public apology and take responsibility for his outburst today by resigning as Leader of North East Derbyshire.
The video recording of the meeting can be found here: 
Kind Regards
Ross Shipman
172 Queen Victoria Road, New Tupton
07890909486″
You can join the Liberal Democrats to fight for a better North East Derbyshire by visiting www.libdems,org.uk/join

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