A COUNCILLOR has been barred from the next two full council meetings for revealing redacted information from an internal audit alleging corruption.

Jim Bollan, who represents the Leven ward for the Community Party, was subjected to multiple complaints by West Dunbartonshire Council's chief executive, Joyce White.

The Ethical Standards Commissioner rejected all but two of allegations and send those to the Standards Commission for Scotland (SCS).

But the SCS said Cllr Bollan spoke to a council employee in an "aggressive and demeaning manner" before a council meeting in May 2019, and then exposed confidential information at that meeting.

Although they accepted he considered details to be in the public interest, the information was confidential and should have remained hidden from residents.

Cllr Bollan, who was first elected 20 years ago, remained defiant and his party called for the chief executive to "consider her position".

The clash between Cllr Bollan and Mrs White last May stemmed from secret council reports into corruption allegations against three council employees and millions of pounds in contracts.

Councillors initially voted unanimously for a review when a first version of the report was heavily redacted.

When a second version still had dozens of blank pages, detailed were highlighted at the council meeting by Cllr Bollan.

West Dunbartonshire Council has repeatedly pointed out that Police Scotland established no criminality by any employee, and Audit Scotland all looked into the authority.

Mr Paul Walker, chairman of the hearing panel for the SCS, said: “The requirement for councillors to behave in a respectful manner towards officers and to maintain confidentiality are important parts of the Code, as a failure to do so can undermine the effective running of the council.

“Councillors should be able to undertake their scrutiny role without being offensive or demeaning.

“In this case, Cllr Bollan failed to conduct himself in a courteous and respectful manner.”

A spokeswoman for the council said: “The council is always reluctant to take action against councillors but where they are aggressive and disrespectful to employees – as was the case here – there is no alternative. We will always protect our workforce.”

The initial notification to Cllr Bollan of the complaints against him listed 18 allegations, but the Community Party this week said the total number was 37.

Cllr Bollan, who had more than one in five first preference votes in the 2017 council election, got more than 1,000 signatures on a petition showing their support for the veteran member last year.

He holds more public surgeries than any other councillor, but does not sit on other committees.

Read more: Councillor Jim Bollan reported to standards commission over anti-corruption campaign

The Community Party's Louise Robertson said in a statement: "This whole charade needs to be looked at in the wider context of the situation West Dumbarton finds itself. Both Labour and the SNP councillors have handed far too much decision making powers to the chief executive officer, Joyce White, who is accountable to no-one.

"She sent 37 charges to the Standards Commission who threw out 35 of them pre-trial, charges which related to Jim and [former councillor] George Black exposing corruption and malpractice relating to the awarding of council contracts, all of which happened in Joyce White's watch.

"And now the two charges Jim did face have resulted in him being banned from two council meetings. How much money, time and effort was put into this spiteful farce, money that could have been better spent in many of our run-down services?

"Jim has had this hanging over him since June 30, 2019, and now he basically gets a slap on the wrist to justify the time, money and energy wasted.

"Mrs White has a lot to answer for and should certainly be considering her position.

On the other hand, the Community Party Cllr Jim Bollan, will continue to speak up for ALL constituents of West Dunbartonshire and would like to take this opportunity to thank the very many people who sent him messages of support over the weekend."

Council leader Jonathan McColl hit out at Cllr Bollan and praised the chief executive.

He said: "When we take on our role as councillors, we take on a responsibility, and should treat people as we would want to be treated – with courtesy and respect.

"Abuse of council staff in any shape or form cannot be tolerated, and that is what this behaviour came down to.

"It’s really disappointing that Cllr Bollan does not recognise or show any remorse for his conduct, even more so given his statement that he regards the sanction imposed as a ‘badge of honour’.

"His personal attacks on the chief executive are a crass attempt to deflect attention as are his baseless allegations.

"The fact is the chief executive has consistently delivered for this council and her strong and effective leadership has been recognised cross-party by councillors, national politicians and by the Accounts Commission, which validated the significant progress made by the council in recent years.”

The Standards Commission, at a maximum, could have banned Cllr Bollan from public office for up to five years.