Council chair who said he would put female officer 'over his knee' is sanctioned
Lichfield District Council's chair has apologised after making a remark about 'putting a female officer over his knee.'
Councillor Derick Cross has been told to send a written apology to the complainant and ordered to have no written, verbal or physical contact with her for six months.
He appeared at a formal hearing of the council's Assessment Sub Committee on Wednesday over allegation of failure to follow the council’s code of conduct.
It was alleged the remark towards the officer made her feel "weird, awkward and uncomfortable".
The sub-committee was made up of councillors from all represented parties, along with an independent member.
The hearing reviewed the complaint and statements made by all parties and witnesses, and the panel found Councillor Cross had failed to follow the code of conduct on the grounds of accountability and leadership.
It also ruled that the language used was 'inappropriate and could reasonably be expected to cause awkwardness and discomfort as reported by the complainant'.
The ruling continued: "Such language has the potential to directly impact on the authority’s reputation as an employer and undermine confidence in members."
The sub committee were unable to make a determination as to whether Councillor Cross failed to follow the Code of Conduct with regard to honestly and integrity.
A council spokesman said: "In response to these findings, the council has imposed appropriate sanctions on Councillor Cross.
"These measures reflect our unwavering stance on misconduct and our responsibility to uphold public trust.
"The sub-committee did recognise he was positively forthcoming with a written apology to the complainant as he wished to rectify his misconduct.
"Lichfield District Council reiterates its firm commitment to ensuring a safe, respectful workplace for all employees and members.
"We stand resolute in our dedication to thoroughly investigating any allegations of misconduct. Our goal is to foster an environment free from such behaviours."