County councillor ordered to undergo anger management training

Councillor Emma Brennan. Picture: Devon County Council

Councillor Emma Brennan. Picture: Devon County Council - Credit: Archant

A county councillor has been ordered to take anger management training after four complaints were lodged about her behaviour.

An investigation was carried out into Labour Councillor Emma Brennan, who represents Exeter at Devon County Council.

Cllr Brennan was accused of bullying, failing to treat others with courtesy and respect and conducting herself in a manner, or behaving in such a way, that she brought her office or the council into disrepute.

A report investigating the allegations was written by a county solicitor and the monitoring office, in consultation with an independent person.

Devon County Council's standards committee reviewed the findings at its latest meeting on Tuesday, July 16.

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Minutes from the meeting stated that the complaints arose from events which took place at a 'Spotlight Review' meeting on April 25, 2019.

It found that she had not treated others with courtesy or respect and had conducted herself in a manner or behaved in a way that she had brought her office or the council into disrepute. The definition of disrepute is a 'state of being held in low esteem by the public', according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

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The report found the Cllr Brennan had not bullied anyone. In the minutes of the meeting, bullying is characterised as 'any single act or pattern of offensive, intimidating, malicious, insulting or humiliating behaviour; an abuse or misuse of power or authority which attempts to undermine or coerce or has the effect of undermining or coercing an individual or group of individuals by gradually eroding their confidence or capability which may cause them to suffer stress or fear'.

It was agreed that Cllr Brennan must issue a formal and robust apology to the complainants and undergo training focussing on anger management, and on the council's 'processes and procedures to achieve individual aims and make good decisions on how to progress these'.

Cllr Brennan cannot take part in a 'Spotlight Review' until she has undergone this training.

Cllr Brennan has been approached for a comment.

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