Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Stone Cross, Northallerton
Contact: Democratic Services Officer 01609 767015
Election of Chairman
That Councillor G W Dadd be elected Chairman for duration of the meeting.
(Councillor G W Dadd in the Chair)
Exclusion of the Press and Public
To consider passing a resolution under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 excluding the press and public from the meeting during consideration of item 4 on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act.
The Panel considered whether to exclude the press and public from the meeting during consideration of the items of business at minute no. SHP.26 on the grounds that it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act. The Panel considered representations from the complainants and their witnesses who had no objection to the disclosure of their information as part of a public hearing. The Panel was satisfied that the public interest in disclosing the information outweighed the public interest in maintaining the exemption.
The Panel resolved to hear the matter in public.
ALLEGATIONS AGAINST DISTRICT COUNCILLOR C ROOKE
The subject of the decision:
The Deputy Monitoring Officer presented a report with regard to an allegation that Councillor C Rooke had failed to comply with the provisions of the Council’s Code of Member Conduct by:
(i) conducting himself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as failing to treat others with respect;
(ii) conducting himself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing his authority or his office as a Member of the Authority into disrepute; and
(iii) doing something which compromises or is likely to compromise the impartiality of anyone who works for or on behalf of the Authority.
The Panel heard from the complainants (“X”, “Y” and “Z”, collectively referred to as the “complainants”), Councillor Rooke and considered evidence from six witnesses.
Alternative options considered:
The Panel considered all the options available but having concluded that Councillor Rooke had not breached the Code of Conduct, none of the alternative options were deemed appropriate.
The reason for the decision:
The Panel considered:
· the Deputy Monitoring Officer’s report;
· the written and oral submissions of the three complainants;
· the oral submissions of Councillor Rooke;
· the written and oral submissions of six witnesses; and
· the District Council’s Code of Conduct.
The Panel considered evidence from the complainants who informed the Panel that during a Planning Committee meeting held on 9th November 2017 Councillor Rooke (who was sitting as a Member of the Planning Committee) talked and laughed throughout presentations, appeared to pass notes to another councillor and attempted to communicate covertly with the Council’s Executive Director. The complainants assert that, in doing so, Councillor Rooke failed to treat those present at the meeting with respect and brought his Authority into disrepute. The complainants also informed the Panel that Councillor Rooke had made comments during the meeting that may compromise the impartiality of other councillors.
The Panel heard evidence from a witness (“A”) who told the Panel that he had been present during the Planning Committee meeting. A informed the Panel that he had seen Councillor Rooke talking and laughing during the course of the meeting with another councillor. A told the Panel that Councillor Rooke’s behaviour was distracting and as a result he had not heard part of the Chairman’s opening remarks outlining the procedure for the meeting. A also informed the Panel that, whilst he had found Councillor Rooke’s behaviour distracting, he could not hear what was being said by Councillor Rooke and was able to put the behaviour out of his mind and concentrate on the presentation given by the planning officer. A told the Panel that, during the course of the officer’s presentation, he had left the room to get a drink and on his return he remained at the back of the room behind some folding doors. A informed the Panel that he could hear talking coming from the Planning Committee Members’ table although he could not see who was speaking. A told the Panel that, during ... view the full minutes text for item SHP.26