Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Exclusive: Standards Committee Whitewash

Following an incident in which he blocked an ambulance from reaching an injured patient, the Standards Committee at the City Council has today found Cllr Rosenstiel guilty of breaching the Council's Code of Conduct, in both failing to treat others with respect, and in bringing his office of Councillor into disrepute, despite strong protestations from Cllr Rosenstiel's barrister against the latter.

The meeting agreed on the facts of the case as set out in the Standards Board investigation report, with the exception of whether or not the ambulance had flashing blue lights on at the time – the ambulance service didn’t want to argue the point as Colin accepted he knew it was an emergency vehicle treating a patient after the conversation.

Cllr Rosenstiel’s barrister accepted the code of conduct breach that he had failed to treat a person with respect, and that Cllr Rosenstiel was acting in his official capacity, but argued extensively, quoting Ken Livingstone’s case in his defence - claiming Cllr Rosenstiel had brought himself into disrepute, but not the office of Councillor.

After noting that he was responding as ward councillor, had called council officers during the incident and referred to his status as Councillor whilst remonstrating, this defence wasn't accepted.

But in a unanimous decision, the panel then decided that the only santion applied would be that an apology would be agreed - personal, full, unreserved and unqualified, to both the ambulance driver concerned and the head of the ambulance service. This is right at the bottom end of what could have been applied, and in my view wholly understates the seriousness of the incident and its possible consequences. It will be interesting to see if Cllr Rosenstiel's constituents share my opinion that his position as a Councillor is untenable.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Councillor Howell,
I am a Market ward resident (and Cllr Rosenstiel is therefore my local councillor). I am absolutely appalled not only at his behaviour in this incident but also at the “Standards” Committee’s decision that an apology would suffice.
I would like to point out that obstructing an emergency worker or emergency vehicle is actually an offence under the Emergency Workers (Obstruction) Act 2006 (see: www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2006/ukpga_20060039_en_1). It is punishable by a fine of up to £5,000. If I or any “average” civilian had done the same, we would have been arrested, charged and undoubtedly fined. There is no room – in a democracy – for elected officials to receive different treatment than any of their constituents. In fact they should, if anything, be held to a higher standard of behaviour.
Cllr Rosenstiel should resign, although having witnessed his general attitude on a few occasions, I doubt he will – this is one of the main problems of being a Councillor for much too long: a sense of entitlement. If he doesn’t, I do hope that you and other Councillors will still pursue it. Letting this slide will send the wrong signal to constituents and will only add to the poor reputation that national and local politicians already suffer.

Anonymous said...

Who cares - so he's said sorry, and will likely not do it again!

Anonymous 3 said...

To: “Who cares” – You are missing the point. There is a reason why these laws exist – primarily for the benefit of the poor chap who was in pain and in urgent need of medical attention. If you had acted in this manner I expect the ambulance driver would have simply called the police who would have arrested you on the spot and preferred charges. The best you might expect is for a magistrate to impose a small fine along with your newly acquired criminal record.

If your tack were more generally followed we could immediately close all prisons in the UK as I expect most therein would say “I’m sorry and I won’t be doing that again”. Then the Court system could also be closed down as it wouldn’t be needed if all that was required was a reassuring apology made to the police officer. Think of the savings in these trying times.

Simple Solution said...

I think there is a simple solution, have him resign and force a by-election. If his local supporters still believe he is the right man for the job, he will be re-elected.

If however as I suspect he will be ousted we can all go about our lives knowing this "plonker" has to get a real job and the peoples opinion will for once be counted.