Agenda and minutes
Venue: Committee Room 1 - Wallasey Town Hall
Contact: Shirley Hudspeth
Note: Special Meeting
Councillor M McLaughlin announced that it had not been possible to arrange for signers to be in attendance at the meeting to assist Councillor L Reecejones (the Subject Member) who had hearing difficulties. The soonest that they were able to attend was 6pm. She asked Councillor Reecejones if she was happy and comfortable to go ahead without them or would she like the meeting adjourned until 6pm.
Councillor Reecejones confirmed that she was happy and comfortable with the arrangements in the meeting room and that the meeting could go ahead. She informed that she had brought a Mr Michael Chard with her to provide her with assistance.
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors R Abbey and J Hale.
MEMBERS' CODE OF CONDUCT - DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Members of the Cabinet are asked to consider whether they have any disclosable pecuniary and/or any other relevant interest, in connection with any item(s) on this agenda and, if so, to declare them and state the nature of the interest.
Councillor C Blakeley informed that he was the subject Member of a complaint.
Professor RF Jones informed that he had been present at the Standards Panel meeting on 15 June 2017.
The Monitoring Officer’s report is attached.
Councillor M McLaughlin introduced the Interim Director: Law and Governance who then presented his report and supporting appendices. He informed that the Standards Panel, at its meeting on 15 June 2017, had considered an investigation into allegations that Councillor L Reecejones had breached the Members’ Code of Conduct and had determined that she had done so.
This decision had required a number of actions to be taken, including reporting the outcome to a public meeting. This decision had been subject to a request for an appeal which had been unsuccessful as the former Director: Law and Governance had considered there to be insufficient grounds to allow it. The Interim Director’s report set out the steps that had, or had not been taken by Councillor Reecejones and others in responding to the actions required.
Members were informed that the procedure that was being adopted for the meeting was that the Committee would receive the report, Members could then ask any questions they may have and then the complainants would each be invited to make a short statement. Councillor Reecejones would then be invited to respond and then the Committee would debate and decide what was to happen next.
The Committee considered the background to the allegations in detail and noted that the sanctions the Panel had agreed would be imposed on Councillor Reecejones were as follows:
(a) The Monitoring Officer should write a formal warning letter to Councillor Reecejones reminding her of the need to comply with the Members’ Code of Conduct;
(b) Councillor Reecejones must apologise in writing to all the complainants for breaching the Members’ Code of Conduct within 14 days of receiving this Decision notice;
(c) The Labour Political Group Leader be asked to consider whether party disciplinary action should be taken against Councillor Reecejones and whether she should be removed (through Council) from all outside bodies to which she has been appointed;
(d) The Monitoring Officer shall arrange both internal and external training for Councillor Louise Reecejones as soon as practicably possible. Should Councillor Reecejones fail to attend the training arranged, the Monitoring Officer shall report this fact to her Political Group Leader for consideration and action; and
(e) The Panel’s decision shall be reported to the next public meeting of the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee for consideration.
The Committee received an update on the next steps from the Interim Director, following the Standards Panel’s decision being relayed to Councillor Reecejones on 28 July 2017. It noted that to date Councillor Reecejones had not fulfilled any part of what was required of her and the Committee was presented with evidence from the Interim Director and the complainants to support this.
It was noted that on 28 July 2017 the former Director: Law and Governance had received further allegations against Councillor Reecejones from the complainants concerning her behaviour at the Standards Panel meeting and, in particular, that she was continuing with her social media posts making false allegations against them. He determined that as these related to ... view the full minutes text for item 21.