Thanet council vote to formally reprimand member over facebook jibe ends in more accusations

Suzanne Brimm

A vote by Thanet councillors to reprimand a former Cabinet member was passed at a meeting last night – but was not unanimous.

The fall-out of the vote has now resulted in conduct accusations and yet another scathing facebook post against a council officer.

Cllr Suzanne Brimm, who held a Cabinet post as a UKIP member before quitting the group to become Independent last August, was subject to an investigation after posting comments that a senior Thanet council officer “…needs to go!! Not fit for purpose!”

Cllr Brimm was asked to remove the comments but refused.

Following the complaint an investigation, costing £3245, was carried out.

The independent investigator found that Councillor Brimm’s facebook post compromised the integrity of an officer and she had brought her office and the council into disrepute.

TDC Monitoring Officer Tim Howes told the meeting: “Cllr Brimm has been ‘convicted and sentenced’ and the council is asked to carry out part of that sentence by voting for the censure.”

Cllr Stuart Piper

Thanet Independent UKIP Group leader Cllr Stuart Piper asked what the formal censure entailed and said the lack of an informative answer was the reason he was one of around a dozen who voted to reject the formal reprimand.

Thanet Independent UKIP Group members, bar one who abstained, voted against the motion as did Independent Alan Howes.

A report to councillors from officer Tim Howes said: “Members should be aware that officers are constrained in the response they may make to public comments from members.

“Members should not criticise officers personally in public or through the press nor seek to undermine their position by abuse, rudeness or ridicule. This in no way reduces the right of members to criticise, in a constructive manner, the report or actions of a department or section of the Council where they believe such criticism is well-founded.”


Following the end of last night’s meeting Cllr Piper claims he and Cllr Edward Jaye-Jones were ‘admonished’ by TDC’s chief executive Madeline Homer and Tim Howes within sight of members of the public,

Cllr Piper said: “I am consulting the constitution to find out the correct procedure if any complaint involves both the CEO and the Monitoring Officer.

“Cllr Jaye – Jones came over to intervene. Members of the public saw them (Monitoring Officer and Chief Executive) approach and move me to one side but observed the discussion.”

Cllr Piper says he is yet to make a decision about what, if any, action he will take but added that he has told the CEO and Monitoring Officer that they misunderstood the group’s actions.

He added: “A film of the meeting clearly shows from 33 to 37 minutes that the whole council was unsure. They were clearly angry and perhaps a little too hasty to condemn.”

Cllr Piper said he is awaiting advice from the Local Government Association before deciding on a course of action.


Cllr Brimm, who remains defiant, saying she stands by her comments, said she plans to make a complaint about the incident.

The Birchington councillor, who has enlisted the help of Whistleblowers UK in regards to the censure and other issues including the shutting down of her authority email account, said it was “hypocritical” to admonish the pair in front of members of the public after the action taken against her.

A post from Alan Howes’ facebook account brands the chief exec as ‘not fit for purpose’

The incident is also raised in a facebook post from the account of Cllr Alan Howes asking the chief executive: “How dare you castigate members for voting how they did.”

In an angry tirade the chief executive is branded “not fit for purpose.” In comments below the post it says ‘facts’ will be used, adding: “If I get the ammo, I’ll ‘iron her out.’”


Cllr Piper appealed for an end to social media posts about officers. He said: “I advise all councillors not to attack officers on social media unless they have read and understood the constitution guidance on page 224 and understand the possible consequences of potential breaches of the code of conduct.

“Remember the vote last night was not about her guilt or innocence, it was about the punishment. The no votes were honest expressions of concern that the censure had not been properly explained despite the question. Is the censure finished now that the vote has been taken? Is there to be a letter of censure? If so what will it say? What kind of press release will be used to ‘publicise’ the decision. There was in the view of many, real uncertainty about these issues hence the silence when the Chairman asked…’Do members agree?’”

A Thanet council spokesman said the authority would not be commenting on Standards issues. They added that the case against Cllr Brimm had been about conduct and not whistleblowing.


  1. This type of ‘zoo’ behaviour is typical of the unqualified ‘ukip’ groupies. Alright not all of them are zoo like but most of them are. When a council have the misfits like Ms Brimm and the bullishly Mr Howes this type of cowardly keyboard warrior behaviour is entrenched in their DNA. Foolishly the public relish in the fight and watch on like it’s a boxing match. Actually it’s not. Those two relish in publicity and feed of the negative interest this brings. Not thinking at all of their residents. When the day comes that those two limelight maniacs fade into a subdued background. Bitter attacks from the onset after being sacked by Cllr wells, hanging on by her fingernails to regain stardom. Oh dear oh dear what a sad state of affairs we have come to know. The delights of being a normal everyday resident in Thanet, eh merely wants a normal and boring led council.

    • Mr WELLS oops Mr Walker. A keyboard warrior I may be but say those things to peoples faces. May I ask do you want Manston to re-open as an airport! 2) Do you want the amount of housing that is proposed by the WELLS led council! 3) Do you feel that he millions spent by Homer have been spent well! 4) Did/do you believe I was right to ask my electorate how to vote re THE PLAN (making your assertion of “Not thinking at all of their residents wrong)4) Do you think I was right to leave UKIP in order to stand for those principles laid down for our election 5) Do you think that the UKIP members were right to desert those same principles and finaly have you taken a ‘butchers at the length of the thread I started re Madeline Homes rant. NB there is NOT ONE SUPPORTING your take on events

  2. I don’t think any of the councilor’s and there officers are fit for purpose, waisting money left right and centre.

  3. everybody in the world has opinions, whether you like them or you don’t…. but all this is going too far, its like playground bullying, just because Cllr brim made a remark about fit for purpose shows she has balls to say what she thinks, for the council to get all arsy about it and act upon it the way they have either shows they don’t have any balls to prove her wrong, or they know she is right but don’t want to show it, the truth of the matter is that Suzanne brimm is passionate about what she does for the community and she will tread on toes to see things are done , if someone does not seem to be helping then they will be made aware, and god help those who stand in her way….

    where is the freedom of speech these days ???

    say it as it is and get it off your chest, be more brimm

  4. As the independent, hence impartial, investigator had found Ms. Brimm’s comments on Facebook to be unacceptable, and she had then refused to delete them, the council was obliged to reprove her somehow.

  5. If you want your area to descend further into chaos then keep on supporting the delinquent rebel two independents. If you feel that the elderly resident or the mother of two or family of four, uncle, aunt or sister in law of who ever really cares about the constant battle for limelight, stardom and publicity from the rebel two then carry on. Personally I think what people really want is to know that basic services are dealt with, they feel secure knowing decent councillors who can relate without abusing each other can sit down quietly methodically and discuss a way to make a start in developing a consensus, which affords the residents of Thanet some break from the bitter infighting and chaotic publicity seeking that we have seen lately. If the residents of Thanet, the quiet capable, articulate, passionate, creative, bold, sincere residents of Thanet want the bitter infighting and abuse to stop. Then it should be so. I apologise if you want more of the same Punch and Judy show with Ms Brimm and Mr Howes. It’s time a cold bucket of water was thrown over both of them.

  6. I think we all knew when UKIP got their hands on power it would descend into a farce. They grabbed who they could, put a purple rosette on them and with the wave of Brexit demanding electorate took over a failing council. Now it’s descended into Billy Smaets Circus. Far from the award winning authority Cllr Wells keeps telling us it is. It’s going to be a long 12 months to the next election. The Punch and Judy, S Brimm and A Howes show will roll on and on bringing this regulatory authority into further disrepute. They both need drumming out ASAP. So the public can gain at least some confidence that TDC represents them and not these self serving self publicising power hungry induviduals. We should remind our selves that these people have had 10s of thousands of you council tax over the last 3 years and actually done very little.

  7. When councillors are voted in, they are bound by a code of conduct.
    Cllr Brimm broke that code: an independent investigator determined that to be so.
    That’s it.
    Cllr Brimm broke the code. She should face the music. Even if it is a Swan Song!

  8. If you don’t like the constraints which are placed on you when you are in a position of responsibility, you need to leave. Pro-airport supporters like Ms. Brimm are fond of using the expression: “Let the people decide.” Ms. Brimm needs to resign her seat and put herself up for re-election. Then we can find out whether the people who elected her in the first place are happy with her conduct.

  9. How the hell can an investigation cost that extortionate amount , surely it is part of the councils job to discuss AOB as part of their daily work . That is just a way to grab back some of the money TDC has not got , get rid of them all and get rid of any rotten apples . But re elect councillor Piper , the only honest one there .

  10. Oh dear, Oh dear, Oh dear…all you so rule-orientated and compliant sheeple might be well advised to consider WHY Cllr Brimm felt compelled to deliberately breach the Code of Conduct! How about you take into account that she was for a long time ignored and abused by Gavin Waite and other members of the toxic and corrupt cabal of control freaks that infest Cecil Square whilst attempting to fulfil her obligations to the electorate, whose Council Tax has been squandered by said incompetents for far too long. You would be well advised to look into the cataclysmic failure of Operational Services under Waite’s tenure, which has been repeatedly swept under the carpet by Homer and Howes’ devious machinations, in order that they try and protect their obscene remuneration packages, along with their assorted benefits and “bonuses”. She bravely chose to expose their corruption publicly in YOUR interests, but hey, far more important to massage your own petty egos than consider the public interest, eh? My suggestion to you all is to get a bloody grip on the situation, and perhaps realise that she put herself in the firing line for your benefit rather than her own. Still, far more important that you express opinions without actually considering the reality of the officers’ misconduct and maladministration just to try and score hollow political points, eh?

  11. Perhaps you could let the rest of us know what’s been going wrong and refrain from assuming that we are all “rule-orientated and compliant sheeple”. Shouldn’t we all be put in the picture? Then we’ll be better informed by the time the next local election happens.

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