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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 April 2007, 16:56 GMT 17:56 UK
Council chief quits after e-mail
E-mail sent by Paul Masterman
His e-mail gave technical advice on how to influence the vote
A council publicity officer who tried to influence a BBC online poll has left his job.

Paul Masterman e-mailed colleagues at Shropshire County Council advising them on how they could vote more than once.

The council wants to become a unitary authority and the BBC Shropshire Where I Live site asked if people were for or against the merger of authorities.

He was suspended during a disciplinary investigation and it has been announced that he has now left his post.

One of Shropshire County Council's key values is to be open and honest in our communications and we do not tolerate anything less
Shropshire County Council

In a statement the council said: "Paul Masterman has today left Shropshire County Council after informing us that he wishes to move on to the next phase of his career.

"One of Shropshire County Council's key values is to be open and honest in our communications and we do not tolerate anything less.

"The council's leadership regrets and apologises for any failure by an officer to live up to this commitment."

Mr Masterman told colleagues how to remove a technical block aimed at stopping people voting more than once.

Councils shortlisted

He has since apologised for sending the e-mail.

When the poll closed, with thousands of votes already registered, 36% were in favour of the merger with 64% against it.

Last month, 16 councils applying for unitary status were shortlisted for further consideration.

Communities and Local Government Minister Phil Woolas said cutting one of the two tiers of councils - district or county - could save £200m a year.


SEE ALSO
Unitary council hopefuls unveiled
27 Mar 07 |  UK Politics
Disciplinary hearing over e-mail
08 Feb 07 |  Shropshire
Council suspends boss over e-mail
16 Jan 07 |  Shropshire
Council chief's e-mail ruins poll
15 Jan 07 |  Shropshire
Residents debate council merger
04 Jan 07 |  Shropshire
Councillors back merger proposal
20 Nov 06 |  Shropshire

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