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Chief executive hits out at anonymous letter that led to police investigation

The chief executive of Flintshire County Council has written to all councillors to denounce an anonymous letter about his appointment 12 years ago.

Colin Everett said in a letter reported in local media, and confirmed as authentic by the council, that an anonymous letter circulated to councillors and others “includes false and defamatory material” and was “clearly motivated by malice”.

He said Flintshire had received previous correspondence with the same typeface and similar material but the person concerned had not identified themselves.

“For a letter-writer to moralise about councillors and officers whilst behaving in this way is hypocrisy,” Mr Everett said.

“We believe we know the identity of the letter-writer but do not have proof. If any member knows the identity of this person they should advise [monitoring officer] Gareth Owens and myself immediately.”

The content of the letter gave grounds for suspicion that a senior councillor aided the writer by disclosing confidential and privileged information, the chief executive said, warning that if the councillor could be identified “immediate action will be taken against them”.

Local press reports confirmed by the council suggest allegations have been made about the way in which Mr Everett was appointed as chief executive in 2007.

Without elaborating on its contents, Mr Everett said the letter’s circulation had “caused untold damage to those to whom it refers”.

Mr Everett said police had recently investigated the circumstances of his appointment and had “received a tape recording of an old conversation amongst councillors, held on council premises, about my appointment.

“The conversation, now in wider circulation, includes false information and it undermines my reputation and standing. The police investigated the issue thoroughly and are not taking any further action.”

He warned any repetition of false statements by any councillor “could lead to legal action against both the individual and the employer itself”.

Detective inspector Chris Bell, of North Wales Police, said: “We received a report of alleged misconduct in public office at Flintshire County Council.

“A number of individuals attended voluntary interviews under caution and following a thorough investigation it was concluded that there was not enough evidence to proceed. The investigation has closed and no further police action taken.”

Mark Smulian