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Should councillors wear jeans to council meetings?

There is an Adjudication Panel for Wales tribunal under way at present involving a dispute over councillors in Flintshire. An independent councillor Cllr Patrick Heeson is accused of bullying Council officers and refusing to be interviewed by the Ombudsman. A Conservative councillor, Cllr Alison Halford is accused of giving "misleading" evidence in his defence. Without knowing all the details I still can't help wondering how much the whole caper is costing. If a councillor engages in threatening behaviour against a council officer then the council officer should call the police. But if a councillor is simply felt to be an unpleasant person then the Council leader should not give him a position of authority and the electorate should be relied upon to remove him from office.

Anyway, arising from this case the independent Council leader, Cllr Arnold Woolley, has made available a journal he kept. This is being used as evidence. Among the colleagues that he criticises is independent councillor Cllr Rita Johnson for wearing jeans to a Council meeting.

Cllr Johnson says:

“What is he doing keeping a journal especially about petty things like that? Haven’t they got better things to think about than what I’m wearing? They are supposed to be running a council.”

I don't wear jeans anymore as I am over 40 and understand from the fashion police that is the correct cut off point. In any event I wouldn't have worn jeans to a full Council meeting and would always wear a tie. However some of the corduroy suits I shuffle about in have been a source of dismay to colleagues. While at Scrutiny meeting in a nod to modernisation I sometimes don't bother to wear a tie.


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