The possible suspension of a whole community council for showing a lack of respect was discussed at the Marr Area Committee on Tuesday.
Following a complaint by councillor Geva Blackett, an investigation was undertaken by Marr area manager Janelle Clark which found that Mid Deeside Community Council (MDCC) had breached the code of conduct.
Within their Community Action Plan document there was commentary deemed to show a lack of respect for cllr Blackett, and within an email sent by the chair, Keith Bennet, to cllr Farquhar, there was a statement deemed to show a lack of respect for both cllr Blackett and Aberdeenshire Council.
In their defence, Bennet spoke of a turbelent three years for MDCC, filled with “shouting and table-banging” and criticism of individual councillors and Aberdeenshire Council under an old regime.
He talked of it having gotten back on track around the time of their AGM in November last year, when they elected a new committee.
The reasoning behind the disrespect to Geva Blackett occurred over plans they had to restore Station Square.
Bennet said: “We found out that the old community councillors had formed a focus group to do the exact same thing, so we were offended to find out that cllr Blackett was working with them.
“The last thing we wanted was for a councillor to take over and that’s how these comments came about.”
Bennet went on to ask that MDCC not be suspended, as the six months out could cause the MDCC to “die”.
He said: “I’m only asking you to consider what’s actually happened.
“We were a good community council, with lots of very hard workers doing a Community Action Plan.”
Cllr Peter Argyll said: “What’s abundantly clear to anyone is that this community council has been dysfunctional for many years.
“It’s a very unhappy situation, but it seems to me entirely appropriate that we recommend the community council is suspended for six months.”
Cllr Linda Clark agreed with cllr Argyle, but cllrs Jill Webster and Karen Clarke both felt suspension was too strong a sanction.
Cllr Moira Ingleby, chair of the committee, said: “In my experience as a councillor, I have never had to deal with something like this. I would actually support the recommendation.
“It’s reached a situation where it’s no longer working.”
Though cllr Blackett excused herself from the discussion, she afterwards said: “Mr Bennett’s claims that my reasons for helping the community are politically motivated and publicity-seeking are completely unfounded.”
The matter will be decided at a full meeting of the council in March.