Suspended over booze allegations

By Rob George 23/03 Updated: 23/03 10:17

Coun Alan Fisher who has been suspended by Wychavon District Council for six months. (s)

A DROITWICH-based district councillor has been suspended for six months following his alleged booze-fuelled behaviour at a Wychavon District Council function last May.

Coun Alan Fisher, who lives in Droitwich and represents the Lovett and North Claines ward, became the first sitting Wychavon councillor to be suspended in the authority's history after a hearing on Monday (March 19).

Members of the council's Standards Committee heard details of an investigation into the councillor's behaviour during an event at the Civic Centre in Pershore on May 13 2011.

The hearing heard that, during the evening, Coun Fisher was discovered on the upper floor of the building going through the desks and personal belongings of members of staff.

The councillor had drunk enough alcohol that he had 'become unwell and unable to act in a normal and proper manner'

according to the investigation.

When questioned by the member of staff, Coun Fisher falsely claimed another employee had told him there were some headache tablets in her desk.

He then offered to take the employee to a royal garden party if he was elected as Chairman of the authority. Members of the committee ruled that in making the offer Coun Fisher had sought to influence the staff member to not report the incident.

The committee concluded that there had been a number of breaches of the council’s code of conduct and therefore suspended Coun Fisher until September.

He was given the opportunity to attend the committee to defend himself or send a representative but the council claimed he

declined both offers.

Wychavon's Managing Director Jack Hegarty, said: "We are pleased that this regrettable matter was reported by the staff affected.

"This has been a difficult time for the staff involved and we are pleased that this matter has been concluded and that the Standards Committee took a very robust view of the incident.

"I must stress that this is a very unusual matter and we have never suspended a sitting councillor before," he added.

In a statement to the Standard Coun Fisher said he was devastated and accused the council of acting with "extraordinary misguided zeal".

"What is wrong is there is no right of appeal only through The High Court. However I can state I was not drunk and my non-attendance (at the hearing) was due to ill health. The council were aware of this," he added.

"The whole process has to be looked at. It is extraordinary that there is no right of appeal. It has been a terrible year."

Coun Tony Miller, the other ward councillor for Lovett and North Claines, will provide cover during Coun Fisher's suspension.

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