A tribunal has ruled that a former deputy leader of Somerset CC sought revenge on chief executive Alan Jones by making unfounded allegations including drunkenness, molestation and bullying.
The Adjudication Panel for England’s full judgment said Paul Buchanan had “shown himself to be unfitted to be a councillor and local authorities should be protected from his membership”.
He was disqualified from office for two years.
Mr Buchanan sat outside the ruling Liberal Democrat group from soon after Mr Jones lodged complaints about his conduct in 2007 until he stood down in June.
He made written allegations about Mr Jones, left, to the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives & Senior Managers, the Association of Local Authority Chief Executives and the council.
The tribunal found no evidence that Mr Buchanan could reasonably believe that Mr Jones was drunk at a Christmas party in 2005 or at the 2006 Local Government Association conference.
It said Mr Buchanan took two years to complain about the alleged molestation of a female officer and felt he “did not at the time regard the alleged incidents as seriously as he now asserts”.
Mr Buchanan could not reasonably have concluded that Mr Jones bullied former leader Cathy Bakewell (Lib Dem), it added.
The panel found Mr Buchanan abused his position because his letters “were submitted for an improper purpose, essentially as an act of revenge”. It did though clear him of intimidation.
Mr Buchanan’s case was taken up by Conservative MP Ian Liddell-Grainger, who waged an internet campaign against Mr Jones.
The Conservatives gained control of Somerset in June and Mr Jones soon left. He is now working as a consultant on the Total Place audit programme and on cloud computing.
Mr Jones said: “This has taken more than two years but I’m pleased to have been vindicated and that people now know the truth.
“The panel found no evidence that I had behaved in the ways he said, and quite a lot of evidence that I did not.”
Mr Buchanan did not respond to a request for comment.