Arun chief executive apologises for comment on staff message board

The outgoing chief executive of Arun District Council has apologised for making a comment labelled as ‘misogynistic’ by an anonymous whistleblower who brought it to light.

Nigel Lynn, Arun District Council's outgoing chief executive
Nigel Lynn, Arun District Council's outgoing chief executive

Nigel Lynn posted on ADC’s staff discussion board on September 8 after a colleague asked for ‘inspiration and ideas’ ahead of delivering a best man’s speech.

Mr Lynn said: “Make sure your speech is like a mini skirt. Short enough to keep you interested and long enough to be decent!”

The comment, which received seven ‘smiley face’ reactions on the ‘Best Man Speach’ (sic) thread, was shared by a whistleblower who called for mandatory diversity and equality training and unconscious bias training for staff.

The whistleblower claimed that female council members and officers may feel ‘uncomfortable’ following the ‘misogynistic’ comment.

Following the comment made last week, an Arun spokesperson said: “We can confirm that Nigel Lynn made that comment on an informal, internal message board in response to a request for ‘best man jokes’.

“No internal complaint has been made by officers or members.

“The comment was intended to be light-hearted and he is very sorry if it caused any offence.

“This comment has now been removed and Nigel has posted an apology on the same message thread.”

The spokesperson added that both officers and councillors ‘understand the importance of appropriate conduct and behaviour’.

Mr Lynn is set to leave the council in October after almost a decade in the role and a panel is being set up to appoint his replacement.

He previously served as deputy chief executive of Spelthorne Borough Council and will join West Berkshire Council as chief executive once he has left ADC.