STAFF and councillors at Cheshire East will quizzed over their involvement in botched attempts to build a waste transfer site in Macclesfield.
An independent probe will seek to explain how the council spent £800,000 of tax payers’ money on the Lyme Green waste transfer facility, before it had obtained permission from its own planning department.
The staffing committee met on Monday to prepare the draft terms of reference for the review, and to appoint a sub-committee to oversee the process.
This will include finalising the terms of reference and appointing a Designated Independent Person (DIP) who will be able to interview any person including staff and councillors to find out who is responsible for the debacle.
The DIP will be granted access to any documents and emails he or she think may have a bearing on the issue.
They will produce a report including evidence of any action or decision taken by any individual without due regard to council policy, permission, or with intent to mislead.
It will clarify who is responsible, to what extent were staff and/or councillors were culpable and whether the actions were the result of cultural or procedural errors.
The DIP will recommend disciplinary action. The staffing sub-committee is required to take a decision based on the DIP’s recommendations. They can impose a lesser sanction than the DIP recommends, but cannot impose a greater sanction.
A sub-committee of Clrs Howard Murray (Con), David Newton (Lab) and Barry Moran (Con) will appoint the DIP.
Council leader, and leader of the Conservative Group, Cllr Michael Jones, said: “It is important and necessary that everything we do regarding Lyme Green is open and transparent.
“I would like to be very clear that, as I was portfolio holder for resources at the time, I have now declared an interest in this matter and have stepped aside. However, I feel I have more questions to ask than answer. I am keen to ensure that this is a robust process in which officers and members have their unhindered say. “I want to assure every resident that the fullest independent investigation will take place to review the conduct of staff mentioned in the report into Lyme Green.
“Many changes have already been introduced to prevent any reoccurrence of such a failure of the processes of the Council. However, it is only after the independent investigation has been concluded that the Council will be in a position to address some of the potential constitutional and cultural changes that I and other members envisage being necessary.”