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Councillor barred for slating IT dept

'You are the servants', said former Captain

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"For goodness sake, either sack the lot of them and start again, or do SOMETHING," he said of the IT department in an email to the council IT head six months later, according to the Adjudicators' report.

Davies claimed that at first his emails where meant to be humorous. Later, he had grown frustrated with the system.

"THEY are the servants not the masters, and merely the providers of a service of communications AND NO MORE THAN THAT," he said of the IT department in an email to council leaders and executives in July 2004.

By the autumn of 2004, IT staff were said to be feeling intimidated. Web analyst Harvey Monaghan feared for his job after a number of emails from the councillor that reached a nadir with the veiled threat: "If you want, the gloves can come off and let us do battle."

It seems the IT department was not interested in Davies's ideas for improving the council's IT systems. So he went straight to the chief executive with a business proposal, on which he had collaborated, from Duck Driver Limited, a local computer firm.

Duck Driver, which hosts websites, is hosting the site of the Local Democracy Action Group. Its proposal was to host councillors' web pages.

The proposal was rejected and Davies was warned of a potential conflict of interests. Seven weeks later, in January 2004, he resigned as portfolio holder for economic development, and proceeded to question the council executives' integrity in public.

According to the report, it was after the proposal was rejected that Davies's relationship with the council deteriorated. That is when he was supposed to have discovered that his email was being routinely monitored. He had already complained that he was being blocked from reading official documents on the council website.

Davies made a number of apologies for his behaviour. The adjudication tribunal's decision was unanimous among three members. The case was brought against Davies by Chichester council's ethics officer, Jennifer Rogers, for being rude. ®

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