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BROADLAND APOLOGISES FOR ATTACK ON LABOUR'S LASHLEY

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The long-running saga over a chief executive's ban on the leader of his council's Labour group has taken a new twis...
The long-running saga over a chief executive's ban on the leader of his council's Labour group has taken a new twist with the council printing an apology in the local media and this magazine.

This week's issue of LGC carries a statement in which Broadland DC chief executive John Bryant and the council 'apologise unreservedly' to Barbara Lashley for comments made about her after a standards committee found her behaviour fell short of the required level (LGC, 20 April).

The statement also appears in two local papers, pushing the publishing costs to around£1,000.

Both Mr Bryant and the council accept and regret the comments caused 'damage to councillor Lashley's reputation and standing'.

The apology came just days after the Labour Party took the council to judicial review over the standards committee judgment.

The party argued in a hearing lasting more than a day that Ms Lashley had not been given a fair opportunity to answer the charges and that the committee was acting retrospectively. A ruling is expected in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, Mr Bryant remains away from his office while negotiations on an early retirement package continue.

He was initially suspended around four months ago but disciplinary action over the statement which aggrieved Ms Lashley was deferred pending the outcome of the early retirement negotiations.

Bill Miles, the Association of Local Authority Chief Executives consultant dealing with the case, confirmed the statement 'is one of the issues negotiations have to deal with'.

He said: 'There is not a concluded agreement as yet. I can't comment on the state of negotiations.' The council said it hoped a resolution would be reached 'in the near future'.

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