Council workers suspended

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By Cara Sulieman

MORE THAN a dozen workers have been suspended from a Scots council after a racist email was sent round a group of employees.

It is believed that the staff at City of Edinburgh Council then either replied to the original email or forwarded it on, resulting in their suspensions.

The content is not known, but insiders have confirmed that it was of a “racist nature”.

It was raised with senior staff and disciplinary procedures invoked.

“No place”

Managers have now also launched an investigation and are expected to re-issue guidance to all staff about council policy towards email and internet use.

John Stevenson, a Unison representative said: “There is no place in this day and age for anything that can be construed as racist.

“We represent a wide range of members of all colour and creed and all of them require to be treated with respect.”

The scandal is the second to hit the capital’s council within days.

“Shot”

It was confirmed yesterday that another probe is also underway into allegation made against senior homeless chief David Smith.

Mr Smith, a Principle Officer of Temporary Accommodation, is being investigated after a message was sent from his email address suggesting that a man involved in a particularly problematic case be “shot”.

The email made reference to the Stand International project which will see 20 young homeless volunteers and eight team leaders from Scotland go to Belarus for humanitarian work.

The email, sent on August 20, suggested that the 54-year-old man being dealt with by the council – William Godsell – could lie about his age to go on the trip.

Kalashnikov

It said: “The good folk of Belarus might embrace him to their collectivised bosoms or maybe just employ a solution to Mr Godsell’s homelessness via Mr Kalashnikov’s tried and trusted method of dealing with issues.”

After being read by the three intended recipients, the email was then sent on to 71 other members of staff.

The council is refusing to go into details about either case, saying that investigations are underway.

However Councillor Phil Wheeler said: “The council has a code of conduct in place for our email system and it is reasonable to ask staff to adhere to the strict guidelines which are in place.”

He added: “We treat any breaches of standards very seriously and the code states that staff may be subject to disciplinary action if they inappropriately use or abuse council email.”

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