Councillor wants fees to be waived
AN ARGYLL councillor who has spent more than £12,000 in legal fees to defend complaints against him is asking for his fees to be waived as he had not been found guilty on the majority of charges.
But Argyll and Bute Council said the councillor did breach the code of conduct and it will be considering the Standards Commission’s findings against him.
Councillor Michael Breslin said: ‘On October 26, 2016, the Standards Commission for Scotland issued its written judgement on the complaints made against me by the then four most senior officers in Argyll and Bute Council. In defending myself from what I consider to be vindictive and politically motivated complaints, I have spent some £12,000.
‘This has been mitigated by a crowdfunder that raised a net £ 5,500 and huge thanks go to the many people who contributed. The one element [of the complaint] that was upheld was, in my view, the most absurd … and I have carefully considered an appeal against it to the sheriff principal.’
Due to the fact that legal aid is not available for an appeal, Mr Breslin continued: ‘The financial risk, therefore, of proceeding with the appeal was too great when measured against the benefits of being cleared of a minor finding against me. I have therefore dropped my appeal.
‘This affair has left a stain on our democracy in Scotland. It is essential the matter is independently investigated and that I am compensated for the time, strain and costs over the past 25 months.’
A spokeswoman for Argyll and Bute Council said: ‘The Standards Commission sets down a na- tional process that everyone must follow if seeking its assistance in resolving matters. Anyone with a concern is required to submit information to the Commissioner for Ethical Standards. If the commissioner believes the code of conduct has been breached, he takes the case to the Standards Commission, which can decide to hold a hearing, as happened in this case.
‘As required by the commission following its finding that Councillor Breslin breached the code of conduct, the council will consider the written findings in due course.’