Abersychan councillor suspended over breach of council code

SUSPENDED: Cllr Gwyneira Clark

SUSPENDED: Cllr Gwyneira Clark

First published in News South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

A TORFAEN councillor was suspended today for three months after failing to reveal her interests at meetings.

The ethics and standards committee met yesterday to determine if Cllr Gwyneira Clark had breached the council’s code of conduct.

Cllr Clark, ward member for Abersychan, referred herself to the public services ombudsman after realising that she should have declared a personal and prejudicial interest in three licensing meetings that concerned private hire and hackney carriage license fees, as her son is a taxi driver.

The ombudsman conducted an investigation and the report was referred to the council’s standards committee.

Speaking at the meeting, Barrister Nick Thomas-Symonds, representing Cllr Clark, said: "There is no indication of personal gain or intent and there is no evidence of dishonesty in this case.

"It is to Cllr Clark's credit that she quite honestly comes before you telling you it is an oversight."

The committee agreed that Cllr Clark had broken the council’s code of conduct.

The decision was made to suspend her for three month due to her having 20 years’ experience of being a council member, therefore she had considerable knowledge of the code.

Speaking after the hearing, Cllr Clark said: "I am pleased that it is accepted that I in no sense acted dishonestly or to benefit myself or my son in any way.

"This was an oversight in respect of which I referred myself to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales. I have apologised unreservedly throughout, and do so again today. "I respect the decision of the Committee and look forward to resuming serving the people of the Abersychan ward. It is a great privilege to serve them."

Her suspension will start in 21 days' time.

Comments (4)

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4:19pm Wed 26 Sep 12

On the inside says...

A sensible decision. It could not go unpunished but it would probably have never come to light if she had not put her hand up. An honest woman who made a mistake.
A sensible decision. It could not go unpunished but it would probably have never come to light if she had not put her hand up. An honest woman who made a mistake. On the inside
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12:23pm Thu 27 Sep 12

Cwmderi says...

I have known Cllr Clark for many years and although not of the same political persuasion, I have found her to be one of the most hard working, conscientious and honest councillors in Torfaen.
It is to her credit that she put up her hand voluntarily. It is a pity that more councillors do not act in the same way when they know they have breached the Members Code of Conduct.
I have known Cllr Clark for many years and although not of the same political persuasion, I have found her to be one of the most hard working, conscientious and honest councillors in Torfaen. It is to her credit that she put up her hand voluntarily. It is a pity that more councillors do not act in the same way when they know they have breached the Members Code of Conduct. Cwmderi
  • Score: 0

9:40am Fri 28 Sep 12

Leonoliver says...

Whats a load of rubbish, This lady had the chance three times to declare the fact that her son was a taxi driver in the area. She got to influence decisions
that would limit the amount of competition in area so her son could prosper.
How many times has this gone on without it coming to light?
Appendix 1 of the councils code of conduct says you must declare personal interests at the start of every meeting. 3 times this meeting about taxis took place and each time she seemed to forget oh my sons a taxi driver. Your Fired!
Whats a load of rubbish, This lady had the chance three times to declare the fact that her son was a taxi driver in the area. She got to influence decisions that would limit the amount of competition in area so her son could prosper. How many times has this gone on without it coming to light? Appendix 1 of the councils code of conduct says you must declare personal interests at the start of every meeting. 3 times this meeting about taxis took place and each time she seemed to forget oh my sons a taxi driver. Your Fired! Leonoliver
  • Score: 0

10:25am Fri 28 Sep 12

RighteousIndignation says...

Clearly the first 2 comments have been written by her counterparts in the ward. Shame on you.
She's been a Councillor since 1991 - she knows the rules full well. It's at the start of every meeting "do you have an interest", it's in the memorandum of each meeting, it's in the invitation to each meeting. She was caught out and had to come clean or it would have been a lot worse. That's called 'damage control'.
What I want to know is when these meetings took place and should she have been able to run in the recent elections?
Good choice in photo, she looks slightly remorseful/oops-a-da
isy. She should be an actress.
3 month suspension isn't good enough, she repeatedly abused her position and trust.
Clearly the first 2 comments have been written by her counterparts in the ward. Shame on you. She's been a Councillor since 1991 - she knows the rules full well. It's at the start of every meeting "do you have an interest", it's in the memorandum of each meeting, it's in the invitation to each meeting. She was caught out and had to come clean or it would have been a lot worse. That's called 'damage control'. What I want to know is when these meetings took place and should she have been able to run in the recent elections? Good choice in photo, she looks slightly remorseful/oops-a-da isy. She should be an actress. 3 month suspension isn't good enough, she repeatedly abused her position and trust. RighteousIndignation
  • Score: 0

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