Abersychan councillor suspended over breach of council code
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.