A question of discretion

An open letter to Brian Caffarey

From: Hilary Whelan

In a comment posted on this website, you say: “Even Hilary has apparently said that she visited the exhibition twice because she felt that the first time it was too crowded to be able to study things properly.”

This is somewhat disturbing. There is only one possible source for this statement: an email which was not addressed to you, did not mention you and was none of your business, so I wonder how you obtained it.

I note that the email was copied to Faversham Town Council via the Town Clerk. Do you have access to information your wife receives in her official capacity?

I think we’d all appreciate reassurance that our correspondence with the Town Council is treated with the utmost discretion, and that your very strong views on the subject of the Neighbourhood Plan and individuals involved in the debate do not in any way compromise the scrupulous impartiality expected of the Town Clerk in her dealings with members of the public.


5 thoughts on “A question of discretion

  1. Brian Caffarey

    Hilary – I can assure you and others that I do not see (nor am I made aware of the contents of) any correspondence addressed to the Town Council unless there is some legitimate reason e.g. because it directly concerns the Faversham Creek Consortium, of which, as you know, I am Secretary.

    This matter cropped up in the context of a query about the accuracy of a reference in the Consortium Management Group’s minutes to the number of people attending the exhibition. My wife pointed out that some people had attended more than once – for example, because it had been too crowded on the first occasion and/or because more time was needed to look at everything – and mentioned you as one example. As you know, she was aware of this because she was present on both occasions but I now understand that she had also seen an email which you had sent to [name redacted] on a private matter, which you had copied to her and others, in which you had mentioned this. I assume that this must be the correspondence to which you are referring.

    I think it would be absurd to argue that this brief discussion on a point of fact represented any breach of confidentiality of Town Council business.

    1. Hilary Whelan

      There are several legitimate ways in which your wife could have known that I attended the exhibition twice, but she could not have known why. The reason, which you quoted in your post (“because she felt that the first time it was too crowded to be able to study things properly”), is taken from the email to which you refer and could have come from no other source.

      As you point out, this email relates to a private matter, which is yet to be resolved, and I would not expect the existence of the email nor any part of the contents – no matter how trivial you or your wife may consider them to be – to be disclosed to you. The same applies to the names of any persons to whom it was addressed. [Please note: I invited another moderator to moderate your post, and they redacted the name of the addressee, for reasons which should be obvious.]

      I will leave it to others to judge whether what has happened here represents any breach of confidentiality or conflict of interest.

      1. Brian Caffarey

        Fine. I would point out that I only became aware of the existence of the email (which I still haven’t seen) because you referred to it in your original post.

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