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ELECTIONS 2005: COUNCIL CLARIFIES POSITION ON EMPLOYEE ELECTION ISSUE

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Rural Academy co-ordinator Anne Dorrian, employed by Lincolnshire CC has indicated her wish to stand as an Independ...
Rural Academy co-ordinator Anne Dorrian, employed by Lincolnshire CC has indicated her wish to stand as an Independent candidate in the general election.

The council has had to advise her that she cannot do so because the law prevents it. This is not a political issue but a managerial decision by the county secretary and solicitor given the legal requirements.

The law prevents an officer in Ms Dorian's position from standing for election. It is quite clear that before making it known that it is her intention to stand for election, an officer in Ms Dorrian's position must resign her post (Local Government and Housing Act 1989).

There are different categories of employee to whom these 'political restrictions' apply. Some categories of 'politically restricted' employee can apply to an independent adjudicator appointed by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, for permission to stand as a candidate for election as an MP. Ms Dorrian is a 'deputy chief officer' as defined by stature and does not have the right of appeal.

Charlie Adan, the council's county secretary and solicitor said: 'In my view, Anne Dorrian is not able to appeal.'

'Anne disagrees with my opinion but I must protect Anne and the council from breaking the law. Anne has said that despite my advice she wishes to appeal. It is regrettable that I cannot support Anne's appeal to the ODPM because I don't believe the law allows her to appeal. Nevertheless, I have written to the ODPM in the hope that they will clarify the position to Anne. I have asked Anne to let me know whether she has had a response by 4pm tomorrow or if not, what she intends to do.

'Anne is a valued employee and we would not want to lose her. She does an important job for the council in South Holland. That said, if Anne wants to stand for election, we would not want to prevent her. It is unfortunate that the law requires her to resign her post before putting herself forward for election. In the absence of confirmation to the contrary, the council must adhere to the law and I must advise the council accordingly'.

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