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Former Saltney mayor Klaus Armstrong-Braun handed 12-month suspension as town councillor

A FORMER Saltney mayor has been handed a 12-month suspension from being a town councillor at an Adjudication Panel for Wales tribunal hearing today (Friday).

Saltney councillor Klaus Armstrong-Braun appeared at the four-day tribunal in Mold and was judged to have breached five parts of the town council’s code of conduct, some more than once, during his time as mayor between May 2008 and April 2009.

The 12-month suspension begins today, but will only last until the end of Cllr Armstrong-Braun’s current term of office, which means he will be eligible to stand in the local government elections in May.

In addition, the ruling does not affect Cllr Armstrong-Braun’s position as a Flintshire county councillor.

One of the matters the tribunal considered was Cllr Armstrong-Braun contacting the widow of former Saltney town mayor Frank Wilson, Hettie Wilson, at 9.45pm on September 6, 2008, inquiring what had happened to Mr Wilson’s allowance. Mr Wilson had died just days previously.

Kate Berry, chairwoman of the panel, said it was “a very grave concern” Cllr Armstrong-Braun had breached so many items on the code of conduct over a prolonged period of time.

Speaking to Cllr Armstrong-Braun, she said: “When you became mayor, you said you had great aspirations to lead the council, and in May 2008 you had the support of the majority of the town council and the town clerk.

“It’s almost unbelievable that in a matter of weeks there would be several motions and votes of no confidence in the mayor as members turned to despair.

“You had responsibility to ensure leadership of the council. I believe you became so embroiled with other councillors that you lost perspective.

“The panel was particularly concerned of a pattern of behaviour you were unable to accept any personal responsibility, in particular, your failure to appreciate the seriousness of your call to Hettie Wilson is shocking.

“You have partially apologised about that, but it is not us to whom you should apologise, it is Mrs Wilson.

“It is also disturbing that your bullying and your attitude to (Saltney town clerk) Alan Thorniley was so shocking that he considered resigning, given that, in my view, Mr Thorniley is not a shrinking violet.

“You have still failed to consider some of the findings the panel made to be facts.

“As mayor, your behaviour was unacceptable and some of your actions were petty in the extreme.”

Ms Berry added the panel had given “serious consideration” to handing Cllr Armstrong-Braun a one-year disqualification from any public service role, but ruled that as he had not been judged to have breached the Flintshire County Council code of conduct, they did not impose that.

In mitigation, it was ruled Cllr Armstrong-Braun had had “some provocation” from some Saltney councillors during his time as mayor, and the previous town council had problems.