By Democrat reporter
Cllr Jim Bollan has been barred from the next two council meetings for revealing redacted (blanked out) information from an internal audit report alleging corruption by officials handling the awarding of council contracts worth £millions,
Jim Bollan, who represents the Leven ward for the Community Party, was subjected to multiple complaints by West Dunbartonshire Council’s chief executive, Joyce White for refusing to shut up about the reports and being disrespectful to her.
The Ethical Standards Commissioner rejected all but two of the 37 allegations sent initially to the Standards Commission for Scotland (SCS).
However, they accepted that Cllr Bollan spoke to a council employee in an “aggressive and demeaning manner” before a council meeting in May 2019, and then exposed confidential information at that meeting.
The information included dates, times and receipts for officials who went fine dining in Glasgow restaurants after rounds of golf on Loch Lomondside with one contractor, whose company received contracts valued at £millions.
That contractor’s company was later liquidated and he retired to a life of luxury in the South of France.
Although the Standards Commission accepted that Cllr Bollan considered these and other details supplied by a whistle blower to be in the public interest, the information was confidential and should have remained hidden from residents.
Cllr Bollan, who was first elected 20 years ago, remained defiant and his party called for the chief executive to “consider her position”.
The clash between Cllr Bollan and Mrs White last May stemmed from secret council reports into corruption allegations against three senior council employees and millions of pounds in contracts.
Councillors initially voted unanimously for a review when a first version of the report was heavily redacted.
When a second version still had dozens of blank pages, commented on this and revealed some of what they contained.
West Dunbartonshire Council has repeatedly pointed out that Police Scotland were called in and consulted but that there was not sufficient evidence to bring charges against any council employee.
Paul Walker, chairman of the hearing panel for the Standards Commission did not refer to corruption allegations in a statement given to the Dumbarton Reporter.
Instead Mr Walker referred to the fact that he reacted angrily to a council official when he saw how much of the report had been redacted, which Cllr Bollan referred to as “a cover-up”.
He said: “The requirement for councillors to behave in a respectful manner towards officers and to maintain confidentiality are important parts of the Code, as a failure to do so can undermine the effective running of the council.
“Councillors should be able to undertake their scrutiny role without being offensive or demeaning.
“In this case, Cllr Bollan failed to conduct himself in a courteous and respectful manner.”