What’s taking so long?

Coun Nick Martin, the current Swindon mayor, who is the subject of two complaints against him

Coun Nick Martin, the current Swindon mayor, who is the subject of two complaints against him

First published in News
Last updated
Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , @Michael_Benke

FRUSTRATION is mounting at the length of time it is taking for the disciplinary case against the Mayor to be resolved.

Last year, it was alleged Coun Nick Martin (Con, Shaw) used a derogatory term to describe people with learning difficulties.

A formal complaint was made against the mayor in October, as well as a second complaint regarding his treatment of a Labour councillor, but the outcome has not yet been decided.

It has now emerged that the final outcome may not be decided until after the local elections in May. On April 11, the elections will officially be called, meaning a process known as Purdah comes into effect.

During this time, any functions performed by councillors have to stop until after the election so as to avoid accusations of influencing the outcome, including the Standards Committee.

A report is due at any point into the case against the Mayor, but this might recommend a full public hearing, something which would have to take place after the May 22 elections and possibly in June after his year in office has come to an end.

If this happens, say some, and the mayor is found guilty of making the remarks, he will have effectively got away with it.

Labour Group leader Coun Jim Grant said: “If it is the case that the Mayor’s hearing is pushed back beyond his time in office, I think it could do further reputational damage to the council and could be taken as a further insult by those people offended by the Mayor’s alleged conduct.

“It is universally accepted that the Mayor has brought the council into disrepute over his conduct. The original complaint regarding him allegedly using derogatory words about people with learning disabilities was made as long ago as last October and the Conservative Group gave a commitment that if the Mayor was found to have said those words then he should resign. Now it looks like the Mayor will be let off being sanctioned due to delays in the process.

“Of course the Mayor could still do the honourable thing and resign from his position, and that is still the position of the Labour Group.”

Last week, the Standards Committee began a process of bringing about change to its process. One complaint highlighted was the length of time it takes, often because of the difficulty it takes to interview the necessary parties.

The chair of the committee, Coun Dave Woods (Lib Dem, Eastcott) said: “This is very frustrating for me, both because it’s a quasi-judicial process that’s taken so long but also because I am not allowed to comment on the specifics on ongoing complaints.

“The current process is very time-consuming and relies on the people who need to be interviewed not going on extended holidays and so forth, for example.

“What we’ve been pushing for is a process that, while fair to everyone, is also much faster. Part of this is making sure people who need to be interviewed have to make themselves available within a particular timeframe.

“If I can achieve one thing as chair of standards, I would want it to be to ensure that all future complaints are quicker while still being fair.”

Coun Martin declined to comment when contacted by the Adver.

Comments (22)

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7:56am Wed 2 Apr 14

Al Smith says...

If this had been dealt with last year it would have been forgotten about by now, but it wasn't so now everything is ever so conveniently now delayed until after the election. Chances are the Mayor's period in office will have finished by the time there is a verdict.

Time to get a few more Tory councillors out in May so that there is no longer any one party in control as none of the parties in Swindon are fit to govern in their own right.
If this had been dealt with last year it would have been forgotten about by now, but it wasn't so now everything is ever so conveniently now delayed until after the election. Chances are the Mayor's period in office will have finished by the time there is a verdict. Time to get a few more Tory councillors out in May so that there is no longer any one party in control as none of the parties in Swindon are fit to govern in their own right. Al Smith
  • Score: 6

8:16am Wed 2 Apr 14

house on the hill says...

We should take politics out of local councils and do what is best for the taxpayer, not those who are far removed from the town and have their own agendas. Not going to happen I know but until it does we will always have this tennis match of one side **** it it up then the other then back to the ones who cocked it up before etc and no one ever learns either and has very short memories.
We should take politics out of local councils and do what is best for the taxpayer, not those who are far removed from the town and have their own agendas. Not going to happen I know but until it does we will always have this tennis match of one side **** it it up then the other then back to the ones who cocked it up before etc and no one ever learns either and has very short memories. house on the hill
  • Score: 8

8:33am Wed 2 Apr 14

Wildwestener says...

This is utterly disgraceful. If Nick Martin is innocent, he has had his year in office tarnished and if he isn't he should have been booted out. Either way, this process is ridiculous and brings the Council and teh Office of Mayor into disrepute.
I also blame Martin for not resigning; whether he is innocent of not, he should have gone while the investigation happens.
This is utterly disgraceful. If Nick Martin is innocent, he has had his year in office tarnished and if he isn't he should have been booted out. Either way, this process is ridiculous and brings the Council and teh Office of Mayor into disrepute. I also blame Martin for not resigning; whether he is innocent of not, he should have gone while the investigation happens. Wildwestener
  • Score: 6

9:03am Wed 2 Apr 14

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

Al Smith wrote:
If this had been dealt with last year it would have been forgotten about by now, but it wasn't so now everything is ever so conveniently now delayed until after the election. Chances are the Mayor's period in office will have finished by the time there is a verdict.

Time to get a few more Tory councillors out in May so that there is no longer any one party in control as none of the parties in Swindon are fit to govern in their own right.
Quote "Chances are the Mayor's period in office will have finished by the time there is a verdict."

I suspect that is the intention of the delays.
[quote][p][bold]Al Smith[/bold] wrote: If this had been dealt with last year it would have been forgotten about by now, but it wasn't so now everything is ever so conveniently now delayed until after the election. Chances are the Mayor's period in office will have finished by the time there is a verdict. Time to get a few more Tory councillors out in May so that there is no longer any one party in control as none of the parties in Swindon are fit to govern in their own right.[/p][/quote]Quote "Chances are the Mayor's period in office will have finished by the time there is a verdict." I suspect that is the intention of the delays. LordAshOfTheBrake
  • Score: 7

9:04am Wed 2 Apr 14

Red_jools says...

Of course Cllr Wood's comments should be read in line with the fact that he holds an extra responsibility position and get extra allowance for it, thanks to the Tory group, it isn't in the Tory groups interest to speed the process up and Cllr Wood wouldn't want to upset the Tories in case they withdraw their support and he'll lose the extra payment. He is clearly part of the problem and can never be part of the solution.
Of course Cllr Wood's comments should be read in line with the fact that he holds an extra responsibility position and get extra allowance for it, thanks to the Tory group, it isn't in the Tory groups interest to speed the process up and Cllr Wood wouldn't want to upset the Tories in case they withdraw their support and he'll lose the extra payment. He is clearly part of the problem and can never be part of the solution. Red_jools
  • Score: 3

9:10am Wed 2 Apr 14

Richard Symonds says...

Time to change Politics in Swindon.

Vote for an Independent Candidate that will act for you not their Party!
Time to change Politics in Swindon. Vote for an Independent Candidate that will act for you not their Party! Richard Symonds
  • Score: 7

9:37am Wed 2 Apr 14

stratton man says...

The whole process is being deliberately delayed until Martin has finished his year in office.Councillors of all parties have said he made the disgusting remarks he still denies.Why is he not being dealt with? the answer is the Tories fear it will hurt them in the forthcoming elections.
The whole process is being deliberately delayed until Martin has finished his year in office.Councillors of all parties have said he made the disgusting remarks he still denies.Why is he not being dealt with? the answer is the Tories fear it will hurt them in the forthcoming elections. stratton man
  • Score: 11

9:51am Wed 2 Apr 14

Davey Gravey says...

Can't wait to get rid of this God **** awful Tory administration. Even if Martin didn't say the comment there is more than enough reason to boot them all out.
Can't wait to get rid of this God **** awful Tory administration. Even if Martin didn't say the comment there is more than enough reason to boot them all out. Davey Gravey
  • Score: 2

9:54am Wed 2 Apr 14

Ollie Dognacky says...

I like Nick Martin.
At least he is a conservative. Not labour
I like Nick Martin. At least he is a conservative. Not labour Ollie Dognacky
  • Score: -8

10:48am Wed 2 Apr 14

trolley dolley says...

It is about time Cllr Grant realised that justice takes as long as it takes.

He should stop being political on this and leave it to the Standards Committee to give their findings.

If this takes it beyond the May elections so be it.

Cllr Grant has gone on to say, “It is universally accepted that the Mayor has brought the council into disrepute over his conduct". How does he know this.

I for one will wait for the final outcome before passing any judgement.

My advice to Grant is "do the same".
It is about time Cllr Grant realised that justice takes as long as it takes. He should stop being political on this and leave it to the Standards Committee to give their findings. If this takes it beyond the May elections so be it. Cllr Grant has gone on to say, “It is universally accepted that the Mayor has brought the council into disrepute over his conduct". How does he know this. I for one will wait for the final outcome before passing any judgement. My advice to Grant is "do the same". trolley dolley
  • Score: -3

12:36pm Wed 2 Apr 14

Ollie Dognacky says...

I'm all ears
I'm all ears Ollie Dognacky
  • Score: -2

12:47pm Wed 2 Apr 14

ChannelX says...

Richard Symonds wrote:
Time to change Politics in Swindon.

Vote for an Independent Candidate that will act for you not their Party!
Said the man who's planning on standing as an Independent Candidate.
[quote][p][bold]Richard Symonds[/bold] wrote: Time to change Politics in Swindon. Vote for an Independent Candidate that will act for you not their Party![/p][/quote]Said the man who's planning on standing as an Independent Candidate. ChannelX
  • Score: 3

12:58pm Wed 2 Apr 14

OldTown90 says...

ChannelX wrote:
Richard Symonds wrote: Time to change Politics in Swindon. Vote for an Independent Candidate that will act for you not their Party!
Said the man who's planning on standing as an Independent Candidate.
Good for him.

Spot on. Time for our elected representatives to make the people, not the Party, their priority
[quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Richard Symonds[/bold] wrote: Time to change Politics in Swindon. Vote for an Independent Candidate that will act for you not their Party![/p][/quote]Said the man who's planning on standing as an Independent Candidate.[/p][/quote]Good for him. Spot on. Time for our elected representatives to make the people, not the Party, their priority OldTown90
  • Score: 8

1:01pm Wed 2 Apr 14

trolley dolley says...

I wish Mr Symonds well with a bit of advice.

"Don't take your eye off the Job Centre or Social".
I wish Mr Symonds well with a bit of advice. "Don't take your eye off the Job Centre or Social". trolley dolley
  • Score: -2

1:02pm Wed 2 Apr 14

Davey Gravey says...

ChannelX wrote:
Richard Symonds wrote:
Time to change Politics in Swindon.

Vote for an Independent Candidate that will act for you not their Party!
Said the man who's planning on standing as an Independent Candidate.
If you are the councilor people have claimed you are on here then you are in no position to say that.Not without stinking of hypocrisy at least.
[quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Richard Symonds[/bold] wrote: Time to change Politics in Swindon. Vote for an Independent Candidate that will act for you not their Party![/p][/quote]Said the man who's planning on standing as an Independent Candidate.[/p][/quote]If you are the councilor people have claimed you are on here then you are in no position to say that.Not without stinking of hypocrisy at least. Davey Gravey
  • Score: 11

3:42pm Wed 2 Apr 14

Ollie Dognacky says...

Everyone knocks the council :-(
Most of the councillors are a great bunch of people
Everyone knocks the council :-( Most of the councillors are a great bunch of people Ollie Dognacky
  • Score: -7

8:37pm Wed 2 Apr 14

timt1964 says...

you cant say anything about anyone these days without it being blown out of proportion by the politically correct police.what he said wasnt that bad,the ones who are offended are usually idiots anyway without realising it.
you cant say anything about anyone these days without it being blown out of proportion by the politically correct police.what he said wasnt that bad,the ones who are offended are usually idiots anyway without realising it. timt1964
  • Score: -3

9:14pm Wed 2 Apr 14

Ollie Dognacky says...

timt1964 wrote:
you cant say anything about anyone these days without it being blown out of proportion by the politically correct police.what he said wasnt that bad,the ones who are offended are usually idiots anyway without realising it.
I do so agree "Tim"
[quote][p][bold]timt1964[/bold] wrote: you cant say anything about anyone these days without it being blown out of proportion by the politically correct police.what he said wasnt that bad,the ones who are offended are usually idiots anyway without realising it.[/p][/quote]I do so agree "Tim" Ollie Dognacky
  • Score: -2

10:01pm Wed 2 Apr 14

PumpkinEater says...

timt1964 wrote:
you cant say anything about anyone these days without it being blown out of proportion by the politically correct police.what he said wasnt that bad,the ones who are offended are usually idiots anyway without realising it.
You cannot be serious
[quote][p][bold]timt1964[/bold] wrote: you cant say anything about anyone these days without it being blown out of proportion by the politically correct police.what he said wasnt that bad,the ones who are offended are usually idiots anyway without realising it.[/p][/quote]You cannot be serious PumpkinEater
  • Score: 3

10:08pm Wed 2 Apr 14

PumpkinEater says...

ChannelX wrote:
Richard Symonds wrote:
Time to change Politics in Swindon.

Vote for an Independent Candidate that will act for you not their Party!
Said the man who's planning on standing as an Independent Candidate.
Rather that than the Mr and Mrs Martin show.
[quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Richard Symonds[/bold] wrote: Time to change Politics in Swindon. Vote for an Independent Candidate that will act for you not their Party![/p][/quote]Said the man who's planning on standing as an Independent Candidate.[/p][/quote]Rather that than the Mr and Mrs Martin show. PumpkinEater
  • Score: 2

10:34pm Wed 2 Apr 14

timt1964 says...

PumpkinEater wrote:
timt1964 wrote:
you cant say anything about anyone these days without it being blown out of proportion by the politically correct police.what he said wasnt that bad,the ones who are offended are usually idiots anyway without realising it.
You cannot be serious
im serious,get a grip!
[quote][p][bold]PumpkinEater[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]timt1964[/bold] wrote: you cant say anything about anyone these days without it being blown out of proportion by the politically correct police.what he said wasnt that bad,the ones who are offended are usually idiots anyway without realising it.[/p][/quote]You cannot be serious[/p][/quote]im serious,get a grip! timt1964
  • Score: 0

10:14pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Ollie Dognacky says...

Very good.
Tell us more please 'Tim'
Very good. Tell us more please 'Tim' Ollie Dognacky
  • Score: 0

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