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Northumberland council official dismissed following Twitter posts

ASENIOR council officer has been sacked after an investigation was launched into alleged comments he posted on a social networking site.

A SENIOR council officer has been sacked after an investigation was launched into alleged comments he posted on a social networking site.

The Journal revealed five months ago that Mike Scott, head of sustainable transport at Northumberland County Council, was facing the internal probe into his conduct.

It was launched following complaints to the council about allegedly offensive comments he made on Twitter.

Now the authority has revealed that Mr Scott has been dismissed from his post at County Hall in Morpeth, although the council is refusing to give the reason for his dismissal.

It was revealed in September that Mr Scott was under investigation after a member of the public complained about his tweets.

It came at a time when he had been the council officer at the forefront of controversy over the installation of traffic lights and a new junction arrangement in Morpeth town centre.

He had represented the authority at a heated public meeting held in Morpeth in May, when he defended the new system in the face of angry opposition.

The comments which Mr Scott posted on his Twitter feed did not relate to the ongoing traffic controversy, but included allegedly offensive remarks about Chancellor George Osborne, Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles and NHS management.

They were also said to include the use of crude language and swear words, and critical references to Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

When news of the internal investigation broke, Mr Scott was on sick leave from his job. His Twitter account had been given protected status.

Yesterday a county council spokeswoman said: “Mike Scott was dismissed from his employment with the county council on December 4. We are not commenting on the reason for dismissal.”

David Bawn, a Conservative Party spokesman in Morpeth and a leading member of the Lights Out campaign group, said he thought Mr Scott’s posts appeared to be party politically biased.

“It’s important that senior council officers should always act in a professional and politically impartial way,” he said, adding that he believed Mr Scott’s conduct was not acceptable. “I commend the county council for taking appropriate actions,” he said.

Mr Scott joined the council in 2011 and was believed to be working on a fixed term contract. He could not be contacted for comment.

 

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