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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Tindall Room, Sarum College, Salisbury, SP1 2EE. View directions

Contact: Pam Denton  Email: pam.denton@wiltshire.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chairman

To elect a Chairman for this meeting only

Minutes:

Nominations for a Chairman of the Standards Hearing Sub-Committee were sought and it was

 

Resolved:

 

To elect Councillor Roy While as Chairman for this meeting only.

 

2.

Chairman's Welcome, Introduction and Announcements

Minutes:

For the benefit of all concerned, the Chairman asked those present to introduce themselves and explain their role in the context of this hearing.

 

 

3.

Declarations of Interest

Councillors are requested to declare any pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest

4.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

To consider passing the following resolution:

 

To agree that in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 to exclude the public from the meeting for the business specified in Item Number xxxx because it is likely that if members of the public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in  paragraph 7(c) of Part I of Schedule 12A to the Act and the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information to the public.

 

Minutes:

The Chairman asked the Subject Member and Investigating Officer if they had any objections to the hearing proceeding with the public present. Both confirmed they had no objections. The Sub-Committee agreed that the matter should be heard in public in the interests of openness and transparency.

 

5.

Standards Committee Hearing Complaint regarding the alleged conduct of Councillor Ian Tomes of Salisbury City Council

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman outlined the procedure for the meeting then asked the Investigating Officer to make a statement which was read out to the hearing. Key points were:

 

·       On the 4 October 2011 the Monitoring Officer of Wiltshire Council received a complaint from Councillor John Abbott, a member of Salisbury City Council, regarding the alleged conduct of Councillor Ian Tomes, also a member of Salisbury City Council.

 

·       Councillor Abbott alleged that after a meeting of the Salisbury Area Board held on the 15 September 2011, Councillor Tomes was aggressive and confrontational towards Mrs Biggs, a member of the public, and during an exchange with members of Salisbury City Council and members of the public, Councillor Tomes publicly alleged Salisbury City Council was corrupt, and Councillor Tomes’ actions have brought Salisbury City Council into disrepute.

 

·       On the 7 November 2011 the Standards Assessment Sub-committee of Wiltshire Council considered the complaint and decided to refer the allegations to the Monitoring Officer for investigation.

 

·       The investigating officer found at the time of the exchange between Councillor Tomes and Mrs Biggs, Councillor Tomes was neither conducting the business of nor acting or claiming to act or represent Salisbury City Council and therefore the Code of Conduct did not apply. A Consideration Sub-Committee of the Standards Committee of Wiltshire Council met on the 22 May 2012 and accepted the finding of the investigating officer. Therefore, today’s Hearing Sub-committee did not have to consider the exchange between Councillor Tomes and Mrs Biggs.

 

·       When considering the exchange between Councillor Tomes, Councillor Hill and Mr Newman the investigating officer took into account the people who took part in the exchange, the people who witnessed the exchange, the topic of the exchange and the content of the exchange. The investigating officer also took into account the guidance issued by Standards for England regarding private discussions between council members and found that at the time of the exchange Councillor Tomes was conducting the business of Salisbury City Council and the Code of Conduct applies.

 

·       All four witnesses to the exchange agreed that Councillor Tomes accused the City Council of being corrupt, three of the witnesses agreed Councillor Tomes made comments that contracts were given to friends of friends and there was favouritism. Councillor Tomes agrees he used the word corrupt and may have said contracts were given to friends of friends. However, Councillor Tomes said he did not mean corrupt in a financial way; rather it is the way the council cooperate and cosy up with some organisations.

 

·       The dictionary definitions of ‘corrupt’ do not show the word used in the way Councillor Tomes has suggested, but centre on a lack of fidelity and bribery.  (Oxford English Dictionary – perverted from uprightness and fidelity in the discharge of duty; influenced by bribery or the like; venal).

 

·       Councillor Tomes had given examples where he had concerns regarding the way Salisbury City Council operated, however, these were not examples of corruption. There were two  cases where people were unhappy with decisions made by  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

 

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