Enfield’s council leader has accepted a ruling that she bullied a colleague – but then drew attention to the cost of investigating the complaint.

Cllr Nesil Caliskan said she accepted her decision to remove Cllr Yasemin Brett from her cabinet post in November last year was “made in undue haste and in an inappropriate fashion”.

But she went on to claim Cllr Brett’s decision to submit a complaint had cost the council £11,000.

At an appeal hearing on September 4, the council’s conduct committee ruled Cllr Caliskan had bullied Cllr Brett and breached the local authority’s code of conduct over a decision to remove her from her post as cabinet member for public health.

It followed an investigation by an independent solicitor appointed by the council’s monitoring officer, Jeremy Chambers.

The conduct committee told the council leader to issue a statement acknowledging she had breached the code of conduct at a meeting of the full council.

At Wednesday’s (September 18) full council meeting, Cllr Caliskan said: “The council conduct committee recently met – two Conservative members and one Labour member – and asked me to acknowledge my decision to remove Cllr Brett from cabinet for two weeks was made in undue haste and in an inappropriate fashion, which was contrary to the council conduct committee [code of conduct].

“As I have already publicly recorded, I did not agree with the original decision and I appealed it – providing evidence from colleagues from the Labour LGA (Local Government Association) and London Councils. They supported my position.

“The committee, however, upheld the original decision – and while I do not agree with them, I accept the decision of the committee.”

Cllr Caliskan went on to defend her decision to remove Cllr Brett from her cabinet post, calling it a “proportionate response to breaking a collective Labour decision”.

Tottenham Independent: Former cabinet member for public health Cllr Yasemin BrettFormer cabinet member for public health Cllr Yasemin Brett

The council leader then added: “Cllr Brett’s choice to submit this complaint and use a council process has cost the Labour council £11,000.”

Enfield Council’s monitoring officer, Jeremy Chambers, told the full council meeting Cllr Caliskan’s statement “complied with the requirements of the conduct committee”.

In response to a written question tabled by Cllr Chris Bond, deputy council leader Cllr Ian Barnes also drew attention to legal costs.

Cllr Barnes wrote: “At a time when the council is experiencing severe budgetary cuts which have an impact on the services we provide to residents, I regret that a council process has, in my opinion, been misused in this way.

“Council resources should not be used for political matters. A review of external legal spending is underway.”

Later in the meeting, Cllr Brett gave a statement thanking the conduct committee for its verdict.

She said: “I am by no means been the only person experiencing difficulties. Bullying is a very serious matter – and mob bullying an even more serious one.

“As a victim, I am currently accused of having cost the taxpayers money from having brought this case to the council’s attention – even though the complaints were upheld.

“(This was) further, and public, victimisation, as an epitaph to 25 years of service here.”

As well as making the public statement, the conduct committee told Cllr Caliskan to write to Cllr Brett apologising for her actions.



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