Great Britain

Former Ferryhill mayor David Farry says sorry after bullying claims

A TOWN mayor accused of turning up drunk to a Remembrance Day event has apologised to a council worker he was accused of bullying.

David Farry, a member of Ferryhill Town Council and the town’s mayor until May, was the subject of a series of complaints about his behaviour, including that he was also “verbally aggressive” to a fellow councillor.

But standards chiefs at Durham County Council (DCC) have confirmed he has now sent letters saying sorry to his fellow councillor Carole Atkinson and Derek Snowball, the town clerk.

The county council’s Standards Committee was updated on progress since it ruled on allegations against Coun Farry earlier this year.

A total of five complaints were made and upheld against the former mayor, one claiming he made “malicious and unjustified statements” about Mr Snowball in an effort to “destroy him”.

Another, which Coun Farry unsuccessfully tried to dismiss as politically motivated, alleged he had been aggressive to Coun Atkinson in a phone call and suggested she was “stupid”.

Three more related to claims he had been intoxicated at Ferryhill’s Beacon of Hope service last November, marking 100 years since the end of the First World War.

A formal letter of censure from the panel noted inconsistencies in his version of events from Remembrance Day and said he had failed to meet the higher standard of behaviour expected of a mayor or elected councillor.

“On the one hand, you were not drunk or unstable but on the other you presented evidence as to why you were unstable,” it added.

“The Panel noted in particular that none of those organising the event were aware of the change of circumstances, which meant you were no longer able to attend the event.”

“The Panel found that on the balance of probabilities, you were drunk.”

As well as Coun Farry’s apologies and letter of censure, DCC’s ‘independent person’, who provides outside scrutiny on standards issues, recommended a root and branch review of Ferryhill Town Council’s policies.

The Standards Committee meeting was told this process was started in November.