To consider recommendations from the Standards and Ethics Sub-Committees in respect of Councillor Ireland.
Councillor Jepson who had declared an interest in this item left the meeting at this point and did not take place in the subsequent discussion and vote.
Consideration was given to a report that set out the outcome of a Standards and Ethics Sub Committee Hearing that took place on 18th January, 2021, in relation to an alleged breach of the Anston Parish Council Code of Conduct by Anston Parish Councillor Jonathan Ireland.
It was noted that a complaint had considered at the Sub-Committee Hearing that alleged that:
The Subject Member had breached the Anston Parish Council Code of Conduct by making comments under the pseudonym “Anstonian" on a social media blog site, named Anston Parish Council Watch. The comment was in the context of a contract awarded to a local firm of surveyors by Anston Parish Council. A statement has been received from the owner of that firm of surveyors who considered the statement to be defamatory.
As set out in the Decision Record, the Sub-Committee found that Parish Councillor Ireland had made the posts under the pseudonym of Anstonian and due to the content of the post was in breach of the Code of Conduct in that he had failed to treat others with respect. It was noted further the Sub-Committee had also found that by making the post Parish Councillor Jonathan Ireland had conducted himself in a manner that could reasonably be regarded as bringing his office of Parish Councillor and the Parish Council into disrepute.
The full Decision Record in respect of the complaint and Hearing was attached as an appendix to the officer’s report.
As a result of their considerations, the Sub-Committee decided that the following sanctions should be applied to Parish Councillor Jonathan Ireland:
1. The Member shall be censured.
2. The formal decision notice setting out the findings of the Sub-Committee shall be published on agenda of the next meeting of the Standards and Ethics Committee.
3. That the findings in respect of the Subject Member’s conduct should be published on the Council’s website.
4. That the findings should be reported to full Council for information.
5. That the Councillor’s Group Leader be recommended to remove the Subject Member from the Council’s Standards and Ethics Committee.
During the discussion on the item it was noted by the Leader that Councillor Ireland had voluntarily resigned his seat on the Standards and Ethics Committee.
Resolved: - That the outcome of the Standards and Ethics Sub-Committee Hearing held on 18 January 2021 be noted.
Mover: Councillor McNeely Seconder: Councillor Clark
Councillor Jepson re-joined the meeting at this point.