Press officers resign in latest ‘spying’ scandal at Argyll and Bute Council

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argyll-and-bute-logoTwo press officers suspended by Argyll and Bute Council for sharing a joke on via a private messaging system have resigned, The Oban Times can exclusively reveal.

Dinah Mackay and Janet West handed in their notices after being investigated by the council for sharing light hearted comments via the internal Microsoft Lync messaging service.

Staff were unaware their communications were being monitored as part of a separate investigation into ‘spying’ allegations against the council’s communications head, Jo Smith.

Following their resignation, the council has ended an investigation into the pair’s conduct.

A spokesperson for Argyll and Bute Council said: ‘It is not this council’s normal practice to provide briefings or otherwise make comment in respect of on-going disciplinary investigation work.

‘But in view of some inaccurate and misleading reporting of this matter within some areas of the media, it is considered appropriate to confirm the following:

‘On Wednesday, April 4, two members of council staff were suspended pending an investigation.  The background to both suspensions and the resultant investigation put in place to deal with matters does not, in any way, relate to any other investigation being undertaken currently by the council.

‘Both officers have since submitted letters resigning from their positions and these have been accepted by the council.  As a consequence, this concludes matters as regards both officers.’

More on this story in next week’s Oban Times, April 26 2012 or on line from the same date at