Torfaen councillor could be suspended for not declaring interest
12:20pm Wednesday 26th September 2012 in News
A TORFAEN councillor could be suspended today following an investigation into her failure to reveal her interests at meetings.
The ethics and standards committee will meet this morning to determine if Cllr Gwyneira Clark has breached the council’s code of conduct.
Cllr Clark referred herself to the public services ombudsman after realising that she may have failed to comply with the code of conduct during three licensing meetings.
As executive member for planning and public protection she had been involved in a series of decisions concerning private hire and hackney carriage licence fees. As her son is a taxi driver, she should have declared a personal and prejudicial interest and not taken part.
If Cllr Clark is found to have broken the code that is adopted by all councillors, then she could be censured or even suspended.
The committee could also decide that no further action should be taken.
In a response to the ombudsman investigator, Cllr Clark said: “I have always been someone who has taken the issue of the code of conduct very seriously.“ I can only describe it as a complete oversight.
“I find it inexplicable that I have failed to make declarations in this case and I apologise unreservedly.”
Cllr Clark, who has been a councillor for 20 years, hopes the committee will take into account that she selfreferred the complaint, she had made an early, full and unreserved apology and that she has taken full responsibility for her actions.
In his report, ombudsman Peter Tyndall said: “I am concerned that a member with such a considerable length of service and seniority within the council, by her own admission, failed to act appropriately in respect of these three meetings and three decisions and that she cannot account for her actions.”
The ombudsman report has been referred for consideration by the council’s standards committee today.