Councillor inquiry

Councillor Mary Montague
Councillor Mary Montague

Councillor Mary Montague has “welcomed” a public hearing by the Standard’s Commission.

It is alleged that the community safety convenor did not properly declare on the East Renfrewshire council website that she works as a secondary school teacher in Glasgow.

Therefor, this is a breach of section four of the Registration of Interest.

Mrs Montague said: “When this mistake was pointed out to me I immediately corrected the form which was inadvertently completed and I apologised.

“I welcome that the standards commission clearly pointed out there was no breach of the code of conduct on the second complaint”.

As the Netherlee, Stamperland and Williamwood councillor sits on the council’s education committee, the complainant highlighted a concern about the councillor’s involvement in a schools consultation.

The hearing is scheduled to take place at Busby Hotel, Field Road at 10.30am on June 14.

It won’t be the first time Mrs Montague has been up before the Standard’s Commission - she has been up before the commission on three seperate occasions.

Each time (in 2006,2007 and 2008) the councillor was exhonerated.

In 2008, it was alleged that the councillor broke section two of the councillor’s code of conduct “in particular, the key principles of duty, honesty, leadership and respect” by lying in an e-mail to the council’s PR manager.

However, following the investigation, it was decided that she had not contravened the Code of Conduct.

The e-mail in question centred around a dispute between her and East Renfrewshire neighbourhood watch about the councillors attendence at an event.

At the hearing, Chief Investigating Officer Stuart Allan, said: “The persistent complaints against the respondent have undoubtedly caused her considerable distress.

“Both parties now need to attempt to put past differences behind them and to work together for the good of the local community”.

It also expressed “the need for local organisations to ensure equality of treatment when dealing with councillors in multi-member wards”.

A spokesman for East Renfrewshire council said: “We are always keen to support open dialogue and discussion on local issues.

“But we all have a responsibility to be mindful of the impact our words and statements can have on individuals whether they are public figures or not.”

Tom Taylor, chair of East Renfrewshire neighbourhood watch. recently posted on the group’s website a copy of the most recent letter from the standards commission to the complainant.

The last councillors to be investigated by the commission were Alan Lafferty and Elaine Green, however, following investigation into relation to their comments about the St Ninian’s catchment, both were deemed not to have contravened the code of conduct.