Suspended Argyll and Bute Council press officers quit their posts

By Hamish Mackay |

April 23, 2012 | 2 min read

Two press officers suspended by Argyll and Bute Council for reportedly sharing a joke via a private messaging system have resigned.

The Oban Times weekly newspaper reports that Dinah Mackay and Janet West handed in their notices after being investigated by the council for sharing light-hearted comments - said to be about senior members of the executive team - via the internal Microsoft Lync messaging service.

The Oban Times report said: “Staff were unaware their communications were being monitored as part of a separate investigation into ‘spying’ allegations against the council’s communications head, Jo Smith.

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“Following their resignation, the council has ended an investigation into the pair’s conduct.”

The weekly newspaper quotes a spokesperson for Argyll and Bute Council as saying:”It is not this council’s normal practice to provide briefings or otherwise make comment in respect of on-going disciplinary investigation work.

It also said that due to some inaccurate reporting, the following statement had been released: “On Wednesday, April 4, two members of council staff were suspended pending an investigation. The background to both suspensions and the resultant investigation put in place to deal with matters does not, in any way, relate to any other investigation being undertaken currently by the council.

“Both officers have since submitted letters resigning from their positions and these have been accepted by the council. As a consequence, this concludes matters as regards both officers.”

Smith was suspended two months ago after she allegedly admitted using social media sites to keep track of council critics.

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