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20th August 2011

UNBELIEVABLE!! - Kilmarnock's Howard Park is to be dug up and closed for almost a year and a half and apparently senior Council officials have known about this for two years and didn't tell the elected members?

Apparently Scottish Water consulted EAC on numerous occasions over their plans and even held an open meeting on July 27th which was attended by Council officials, elected members and the public?

The Council has just spent £200,000 refurbishing the park only for it to be torn up??? This confirms to me that East Ayrshire Council is being mismanaged and that the Leaders should stand down Especially Chief Executive Fiona Lees and Council Lawyer David Mitchell (he must have been involved with such a big decision and handled the contracts etc.??) Utter Farce and yet again funded by us!!!

Fiona Lees and David Mitchell will still be paid handsomely for making these expensive errors, including getting an extra £12000 in bonuses during the recent elections.

The panic is on with David Mitchell now threatening legal action against Scottish Water if they go ahead with agreed plans??? more money down the pan to try to stop another screw up by the 'elite untouchable' senior council officials!!!!

27th April 2011

At the hustings event held at Henderson Church Hall in Kilmarnock, in answer to an open question by me to all prospective cadidates over an MSP's role in representing his constituentsWillie Coffey MSP for Kilmarnock & Irvine Valley, instead of answering the question, mentioned my case which he has been involved with since August 2009. This resulted in him wrongly stating that I had no evidence in my case - only accusations!!! This highlights the problem I have had with Willie Coffey since the beginning in that he refuses to see the evidence as such instead preferring to call it accusation. I am sure that this is a ploy he is using to squirm out of challenging David Mitchell and Fiona Lees over their role in my case.

The good thing to come from this is that in front of the audience he agreed to allow me to make public all of the correspondence and audio recordings of the meetings I have had with him since the beginning. I will be doing so as soon as I can and I am sure any listeners and readers will come to the same conclusion as me in that he has failed in his duty to represent me properly with my complaint preferring to use any excuse not to challenge his colleagues at council.

22nd April 2011

Fiona Lees is to be paid over £12000 on top of her £121,680 salary to act as returning officer at the election on May 5th !!!

She has decided to share it with three other people including her colleagues Ms Elizabeth Morton and Mr David Mitchell (strangely the three people I have tried to get answers from regarding false accusations from two of them and been met with a wall of silence and a refusal to answer my request to provide evidence for their defamatory comments and writings)

So they are getting another windfall from the council tax payers. It seems that they are mutualy beneficial to each other?

£12000 is almost a years wages to most of her staff!! In these times of cuts it is unethical to be paid anything for doing your already handsomely paid job. But as I have found in my dealings with East Ayrshire Council they are a law unto themselves when it comes to ethics.

4th February 2011

Met with Willie Coffey MSP with information of further defamation issues from East Ayrshire Staff with the hope that he would eventually do the right thing and challenge the individuals involved. Found the usual reluctance to get involved. Eventually he agreed to speak to Alex McPhee (Director of Finance and Corporate Support at EAC) to clarify some points.

In front of a witness he promised to get in touch with me with a response by Wednesday 9th February ....I am still waiting for a response 9 weeks later, this after numerous phone calls to his office asking for it. To date I still do not have Alex McPhee's response or any communication from my current MSP Willie Coffey.

21st January 2011

East Ayrshire Council wrongly accuses Kilmarnock Solicitor of fraud...and won't apologise for it!!!

Another case highlighting that when the legal services department of David Mitchell at East Ayrshire Council gets it wrong he refuses to apologise or retract the defamatory claims!

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23rd December 2010

Letter from David Mitchell confirming that his letter of 22nd November was a personal letter from him and not from East Ayrshire Council.

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10th December 2010

Letter received from Fiona Lees containing a threat of legal action against me.

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29th November 2010

Receive a letter from Cathy Jamieson MP confirming there were no public bodies in place to challenge council officials behaviour. She was not concerned enough about this to take any further action!!

It seems your MP is happy for the actions of council officials not to be controlled by anyone other than by themselves?? Where is the democratic right of the people to fair representation there then?

22nd November 2010

Letter received from David Mitchell containing a threat of legal action against me.

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8th November 2010

Follow up letter sent to Fiona Lees Chief Executive of East Ayrshire Council.

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3rd November 2010

Open letter sent to Fiona Lees Chief Executive of East Ayrshire Council outlining her failure to address accusation of serious abuse of power in her council.

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3rd November 2010

Email sent to elected members updating them on lack of response to letter to David Mitchell Head of Legal, Procurement and Regulatory Services at East Ayrshire Council.

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1st November 2010

Follow up email sent to David Mitchell Head of Legal, Procurement and Regulatory Services at East Ayrshire Council asking for a response.

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27th October 2010

Open Letter sent to David Mitchell Head of Legal, Procurement and Regulatory Services at East Ayrshire Council and to all the elected members outlining my case against him and other senior council officials.

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22nd October 2010

Email sent to Cathy Jamieson MP for Kilmarnock & Loudoun asking her to investigate claims of alleged cover up at East Ayrshire Council.

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East Ayrshire Council

As a lone voice against local government you have no control or say in the running of your local services or in tackling any contentious issues you may have against council departments or personnel.

Your elected members are not able to speak for themselves regarding the important stuff as my case demonstrates.

I recently discovered when I approached all 32 elected members of East Ayrshire Council that the council solicitor David Mitchell sent all of them a letter advising not to respond to me and to go to him if they wanted any information regarding what I was approaching them about.

I was asking them for support about some serious issues I had with the chief executive Fiona Lees and David Mitchell himself. He knew this and sent this letter in what I believe was an attempt (a successful one) to stop them getting in touch with me and finding out what I had to say. Effectively 'gagging' them.

To my dissapointment they all did what he asked and didn't reply to me. I have this evidence through Freedom of Information and Data protection act requests which also show David Mitchell to be the person everyone seems to go through regarding any approach I have made to have him challenged on what I deem unethical and improper behaviour towards me.

What can you do if you have a complaint about a senior council official?

As it stands at the moment there are no organisations in place to keep check of the behaviour of council officials.It is down to the elected members to challenge the individual but as my case shows they are not always proactive when doing this ...perhaps it was who my complaint was about that saw the democratic procedure at East Ayrshire Council break down?

If someone feels that an injustice has been dealt to them by an East Ayrshire Council member and they have the courage to make a complaint it will most likely be dealt with by the councils monitoring officer who just happens to also be David Mitchell, Head of Legal Procurement and Regulatory Services. Unfortunately a large part of my complaint was regarding David Mitchell himself so this is not a suitable situation to allow a fair hearing to take place.

I have been the victim of what I can only describe as aggressive, devious and unethical behaviour from members of East Ayrshire Council. How is it possible to get a fair hearing of a complaint if it is for the accused party to decide whether they deal with your problem or not?

If you are not happy with the outcome of your complaint or feel you have been wrongly treated then you will be directed to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO). This is when you will realise that you have little if any hope of getting justice. The SPSO cannot investigate the behaviour of individuals, they can only investigate whether the council followed its own internal complaints procedure.

Even if during its investigation the SPSO find that the council acted abhorrently, its most severe sanction it can make is to write a letter to council saying so. It has no remit to take any action against them. If your complaint is of a legal nature the SPSO will not investigate as they say that it is down to you to fund legal action against them.

You may think that perhaps you can go to your councillor, MSP, or MP for help. I have went down this road and found that they were not willing to challenge the people who were involved. My feelings are that this is because these people wield too much power over them. In my case my MSP Willie Coffey is also a fully paid elected member of East Ayrshire Council, this on top of his fully paid MSP role, so I was fighting a losing battle there .

This website has been set up to inform you of my case and assist in dealing with East Ayrshire Council. To give the people of East Ayrshire a place where they can tell their story if they wish with the hope of gathering support in a bid to put pressure on prospective elected members of East Ayrshire Council to challenge council behaviour when it is found to be wanting. Unfortunately I have discovered that there is no other way to correct the wrong doings of council.

There is an Online Forum up and running so please register so that you can have your say and together we may be able to get a system in place that protects your rights to be heard and get democracy back in place at East Ayrshire Council.

Please return often as there will be updates and new stories as they happen.

Together we might just be able to get East Ayrshire Council to behave ethically when dealing with ordinary members of the public.

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Council Watch is a site focusing at present on East Ayrshire Council. If enough people support the site and take part in the forum bringing new stories etc. it will expand to other councils and from there who knows? Council watch initial story references local government, Kilmarnock & Loudoun. Council-Watch East Ayrshire, Council-Watch Kilmarnock, council watch London Road, Council Watch Ayrshire, Council-Watch election, .East Ayrshire Council members, East Ayrshire Council voters, East Ayrshire Council elected members, East Ayrshire Council London Road Kilmarnock. East Ayrshire council watch.