The district’s most outspoken councillor has made a formal apology after ‘allegations and threatening emails’ put him in breach of the council’s rules.
In August, Cllr Prabhjiet ‘Bob’ Dhillon (Con, Warwick West) was brought before Warwick District Council’s standards committee over remarks made at a public forum.
It was found that his comments implied corruption by council officers and that threatening emails were later sent to members of the council.
As a result, Warwick’s current mayor - dubbed by some as the ‘man of the people’ - was suspended from the Conservative party for six months, ordered to make a formal apology and undertake training on the council’s code of conduct.
Although queries over the proposed training - for which Cllr Dhilon must pay half the cost - are still being debated, he made the apology at a meeting of the council on Wednesday night.
He told the chamber at the Town Hall: “At a meeting in August the council voted in favour of a formal apology for what it is believed was a breach of the code of conduct. I give that apology to the council.”
The Conservative councillor has more recently been in hot water over submission of inaccurate expenses claims.
Cllr Dhillon was asked to call in at the district council offices in Leamington to explain the matter to chief executive Chris Elliott.
Even though Cllr Dhillon has paid back nearly £300 - said to have been mistakenly claimed in expenses over the past five years - he has not made a personal appointment with Mr Elliott. He explained this was largely because his duties as mayor already consume large amounts of his working day when he also has to make a living in his job as an accountant.
Cllr Dhillon wants to know why any discussions cannot be done over the phone or via email.
One mistake appears to be down to a council clerk wrongly inputting 176 miles for a whole series of journeys instead of the 76 miles which was actually claimed.
Last week Cllr Dhillon asked his legal representative to submit details of his expenses and explain why some mileage claims appeared to be higher than necessary.
So many apparent discrepancies appeared in his claim forms that council clerks checked his claims going back five years. All other councillors’ claims were only randomly checked over 20 months, which revealed a few minor discrepancies made in error by several members, which have been repaid.
It has been accepted there was no systemic attempt at fraud by Cllr Dhillon.
Cllr Dhillon has agreed to partly fund extra training on the Councillors’ Code of Conduct but he has queried his need for three extra sessions suggested by Mr Elliott on public speaking, questioning skills and coping with pressure and stress.