THE FIRST STAGE of a disciplinary hearing has dealt a blow to the defence of a long-standing CIMA council member.
A professional conduct panel found Margaret May “did not honestly believe” an email she sent was accurate after she was accused of acting contrary to the institute’s code of ethics.
May is charged with breaching the code because she attempted to send a key document to CIMA’s member network following an executive committee meeting, which the institute’s disciplinary body claims voted only to pass the paper to a governance working party.
CIMA claims her actions amount to misconduct. The latest finding forms part of a hearing to establish facts involved in the case. May is expected to face a second hearing in November on the substantive charge of misconduct.
The executive committee meeting, held in February last year, is central to her case and discussed what to do with a paper written by May.
In her email, May claimed it had been agreed that the paper could go to the members’ network, and distributed it for comments.
However, Sunday’s disciplinary panel ruled that the executive meeting had instead voted to pass the paper to the working group.
Matters have been complicated by a recording of the committee meeting from which the two parties have produced non-identical transcripts.
The panel concluded it was not “reasonable” for May to have viewed the meeting in this way.
However, during the course of the hearings May produced two witnesses to support her view of events at the executive committee meeting.
At the heart of May’s defence is her contention that the executive committee did not have the authority to restrict circulation of the paper, it could only offer a recommendation.
May claims that it was she, as chairman of CIMA’s members services committee, who had the authority.
May also faces a second charge of misconduct relating to a separate email about CIMA chief executive Charles Tilley.
In the email, sent to other council members, May refers to Tilley’s non-executive directorship of Great Ormond Street Hospital.
May is accused of misconduct because she wrote: “surely [he] should resign”, following negative media coverage of a whistle-blowing case at the hospital.
May claims the phrase was rhetorical and that she acted out of concern for possible risks to CIMA, but the institute has attacked the way she dealt with the issue.
A council member for 17 years, May’s lawyer indicated during the hearing that the case rests heavily upon politics at the institute. Garret Byrne said there were people with “very large axes to grind” against her, arguing their testimony should be taken “with a very large pinch of salt”.
* This is a corrected version of the original article first published immediately after the first stage hearing. The corrections respond to concerns raised by Margaret May regarding the reporting of her defence. We apologise if our original article was misleading.
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