Young and old have slammed the leader of Lichfield District Council’s (LDC) alleged threat to snoop on their emails.
Authority insiders claim Michael Wilcox intends trawling through councillors’ messages to root out whistleblowers.
It follows him being caught seemingly lying to cling on to his job and the cash he takes out of taxpayers’ pockets.
When he quit the district to live in Burton he felt people would think he could no longer do his job.
So in his plea to be kept on he claimed to qualify because he owned property in the district.
But his email was leaked by people who believed he was not telling the truth.
Wilcox would not answer questions.
Nahal revealed truth
But then LDC legal officer Baljit Nahal confirmed his claim to be totally untrue, saying: “. . . Councillor Wilcox does not own any land . . . “
Wilcox would not then deny having lied.
The LDC insiders said he was furious at being caught out and that he had threatened to go through people’s email accounts to catch the culprits.
Wilcox and his colleagues have voted themselves massive inflation-busting allowance increases amid howls of protest from independent pay advisors.
Stuffing their pockets
They have lined their pockets with hundreds of extra pounds, supposedly for IT services and equipment.
Wilcox’s ‘democracy’ councillor, Christopher Spruce, tried to justify the cash grab by saying it was, “essential”, members could be contacted by email.
LDC spends enormous sums on its website, which encourages people to contact their councillors by email.
But members of the public are given no warning that if they write to their councillors Wilcox might read their messages.
Whittington pensioner, Bill Balston, is a former senior non-commissioned officer who had a long and distinguished army career.
He said: “A person’s private correspondence with his, or her, elected representative should be just that, private!
Breach of public trust
“It would be a gross breach of public trust were the council leader to pry into emails that may well contain confidential information.
“I find the idea utterly disgusting. It brings the political process and our district council into disrepute.”
Young people in the community were also sickened by the LDC leader’s alleged threat.
Law student, Bethany Hickey (20), was amazed that Wilcox might be legally allowed to read her emails without her knowledge, or consent.
Turned off politics
She said many people of her generation were completely turned off politics because of the disgraceful way politicians behaved.
People her age were among those most likely to use email if they needed to contact their councillors, she added.
She said discovering that Wilcox could be snooping on them would destroy any faith they might have had left in people like him.
Miss Hickey, said: “I would be amazed if he wasn’t breaching people’s human rights by reading their emails.
“How can anyone trust him now?”
Wilcox would not deny threatening to read people’s emails.
Nor would he deny intending to read the emails of every member of the council, no matter which party they belonged to.
Yet the Labour group’s controversial leader, Susan Woodward, seemed unconcerned that Wilcox might read her emails.
Nor did she seem to be aware there was no warning on the LDC website telling people Wilcox might snoop on their messages.
Nor did she appear worried that Wilcox seemed to have lied for political and financial gain.
Susan Woodward has voted herself an astounding 22.3% rise in her allowances in a move Councillor Eric Drinkwater called, “morally obscene”.
She is also a member of Staffordshire County Council.
Last year she took a total of £21,285.50 out of the council taxpayers’ pockets.
She looks set to do a lot better this year.