Back in Sept 2017 we brought you the post about Jeremy Chambers (pictured) being dismissed for Gross Misconduct. The allegations were that Jeremy was placed on gardening leave recently, due to sexual harassment allegations made against him by a female member of staff. It is understood that there was more than one allegation. Whether or not this was over a period of time or on a specific date the allegations were received by Shepway District Council, – now Folkestone & Hythe District Council, is unknown.
Now Jeremy received a £43,000 pay off at the end of Sept 2017 and a settlement agreement which included a gagging order, before leaving for Enfield Council
Anyway our public face undertook an FoI to Folkestone & Hythe District Council. It asked:
How many allegations of sexual harassment/misconduct – which led to “settlement agreements” were made against the former Corporate Director of Strategic Operations, between 1 Jan 2013 – to present. Please could you set out the number of allegations per year and the amount for any settlement agreement” paid for each year.
The Council have now responded using section 17(4) of the FoIA 2000,
“the council neither confirms nor denies whether it holds the information you have requested.“
So we are no closer to knowing if Mr Chambers did or did not behaviour inappropriately towards female members of staff. However, we do know he left the building with £43,000.
Is it right that the Council should hide behind s17(4) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000? We personally think not. The Council should either exonerate Mr Chambers, or confirm he behaved inappropriately. Until then we are all left wondering if Jeremy does or does not know how to behave appropriately towards women, who make up more than 50% of the UK population.
Such a response by the Council allows the perception to linger among staff and local residents that the council prefer to move senior management on rather than confront misbehaving persons and sack them in our humble opinion.
The Shepwayvox Team – Dissent is NOT a Crime