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Thanet District Council: Cllr Suzanne Brimm faces official censure

By Katie Davis

An outspoken Thanet councillor is facing a formal reprimand over claims she attempted to bully the authority’s chief executive on Facebook.

Former cabinet member Suzanne Brimm shared the private home phone number of Madeline Homer on the social media site, along with the comment: “FYI call her I’m sure she will be glad to hear from you.”

The Birchington ward councillor, who was elected as a Ukip member but is now independent, was asked to remove the offending post, but investigators claim she refused to.

Cllr Suzanne Brimm
Cllr Suzanne Brimm

She denies this allegation, saying she went to remove it when asked but the post had already been taken down by Facebook.

The complaint was brought before the standards assessment sub-committee in January, sparking an investigation which cost £3,314 to conduct.

Its findings were considered by the standards hearing sub-committee on June 28.

A council report says: “Councillor Suzanne Brimm did not cooperate with this investigation and did not attend the meeting.

“The standards hearings sub committee unanimously accepted the investigator’s conclusions.”

The investigator found that Cllr Brimm’s Facebook post was an attempt to intimidate an officer who was a complainant against her in relation to an earlier standards complaint.

It also ruled that she had attempted to bully the officer, disclosed information which was of a confidential nature and displayed conduct which brought her office into disrepute.

Cllr Brimm says the investigation and its findings are “vexatious” and “undemocratic”.

She claims she was not given the opportunity to speak to the investigator and says access to her government email was withdrawn in February for an unrelated matter.

She says it was in response to a round-robin mail she sent to Thanet councillors alleging officer misconduct and bullying concerns.

Following the latest finding, councillors will now vote on a formal reprimand against Cllr Brimm.

The sub-committee has recommended access to her council email address is withdrawn until January 2, 2019.

It also recommends that for the same period she is banned from council offices and other premises, except for when attending meetings.

The censure will be discussed at a meeting on Thursday, July 12.

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