THE decision to suspend a County Councillor from all duties has been upheld by the Adjudication Panel for Wales which also recommended the suspension goes ahead.
The panel, meeting in Llandrindod Wells, upheld a decision by Powys County Council’s Standards Committee to suspend Councillor Gary Price from all duties, after a two day hearing.
Cllr Price, who represents the Llandrindod Wells North ward and is a member of the Conservative group, was originally suspended from all county council business for five months by the council’s Standards Committee in November for breaching the council’s Code of Conduct.
The breach was in relation to correspondence he had sent which incorrectly and unfairly portrayed the content of a Grievance Appeal Hearing, bringing his office or the council/authority into disrepute as a result.
Cabinet Member for Standards, Cllr Rosemarie Harris said: “The county council notes the Adjudication Panel Wales finding and is pleased that the panel agreed with the Standards Committee’s view that there were two clear breaches of the code.”
The Standards Committee, which is made up of four independent people and two county councillors, ruled that Cllr Price had “failed to show respect and consideration for others” (breach of paragraphs 4[b]) and brought the office of Councillor or the County Council into disrepute (breach of paragraph 6  [a] of the Code of Conduct for Members).
His appeal against the decision was rejected by the Adjudication Panel for Wales following the hearing in Llandrindod Wells.
The panel dismissed his appeal and found that Cllr Price had breached two sections of the Code of Conduct for members and unanimously agreed to refer the matter back to the Standards Committee with a recommendation that Councillor Price be suspended for three months.
The suspension will not commence until the Council’s Standards Committee has met to consider the panel’s recommendation.
Council Leader, Cllr Barry Thomas added: “The decision sends out a clear message that those who enter public office have to operate within the Members’ Code of Conduct and maintain the highest possible standards. It is important that citizens have confidence in the way the council and councillors operate.”
Members under full suspension are not able take part in any form of business of the authority.
In addition if they have been appointed by the council to an outside body, including appointment as a local authority school governor, they cannot act on that body during their suspension.
During a period of suspension neighbouring councillors will be asked to provide cover on behalf of ward residents.
Cllr Price was contacted for a comment on the suspension but no reply was received in time for publication.
See full story in the County Times