A local council is beset by self-obsessed, selfish and not-very-bright councillors, says the town’s own mayor.
Andy Preston, the mayor of Middlesbrough, intervened after complaints lodged by councillors against their colleagues this year neared the combined total for the previous two years.
“For way too long, politics in Middlesbrough has been a disgrace. There are some brilliant councillors here but there are also way too many self-obsessed, selfish and frankly not very bright people who seek to cause trouble for the good of their own self-promotion,” he said.
There have been 12 complaints from council members in roughly the first nine months of 2021, compared with four in 2020 and nine in 2019.
According to Teesside Live, Preston said: “Politics in Middlesbrough features a significant number of people who seek to cause trouble for others by making official complaints about them citing all sorts of false allegations, from bullying to pretty much anything they can dream up.
“What the public don’t necessarily realise is that every single one of those complaints costs the tax-paying people of Middlesbrough thousands of pounds in council time and resources. Some unscrupulous councillors are racking up council bills that amount to thousands simply to cause political trouble.
He continued: “The worst and increasingly frequent example I’ve seen is councillors trying to bully others by falsely alleging they themselves have been bullied. I want to see a culture change in Middlesbrough council that will end this outrageous waste of time and money and, for once, get all councillors focused on putting Middlesbrough first.”
Preston, who stood as an independent, has been at odds with councillors in recent months and even encouraged those who do not like his style of leadership to make official complaints against him.
Several councillors, including his deputy, resigned in May after telling him they had “collectively agreed that we can no longer support you … due to your consistent poor conduct and behaviour.”
The BBC reported that they accused Preston of incurring costs of £600,000 without official senior approval and of appointing and paying a friend without following required procedures.
The broadcaster quoted Preston as saying the allegations were unfounded and had been made by people “who don’t like the fact that I’m upsetting the applecart”.
He said: “I do things differently, I challenge the status quo and I clearly upset a few people along the way who’d like things to stay just how they are. I won’t stop. I won’t resign. I’ll keep doing what’s best for Middlesbrough. Ultimately, if anyone believes I’ve done wrong, they’d be better advised going through the appropriate channels and put in an official complaint to the council.”