CODE Promotion of equality and respect
Referred to Standards Committee
Tywyn Town Council
The Ombudsman received a complaint from the Chair of the Personnel Committee of Tywyn Town Council (“the Council”) that a Member (“the Member”) of the Council had failed to observe the Council’s Code of Conduct for Members.
It was alleged that the Member had been disrespectful to the Clerk of the Council (“the Clerk”) and had repeatedly undermined her. The complaint related to correspondence sent by the Member to the Clerk and correspondence sent by the Member about the Clerk.
The Ombudsman concluded that the Member’s correspondence included derogatory personal comments which were disrespectful and that comments about the Clerk’s experience were intended to undermine the Clerk. The Member also used gendered language when commenting on the Clerk.
The Ombudsman determined that the Member may have breached the Council’s Code of Conduct, in particular, paragraphs 4(a), 4(b) and 4(c) as the Member failed to carry out their duties and responsibilities with due regard to the principle that there should be equality of opportunity for all people, regardless of their gender; a failure to show respect and consideration, and bullying or harassing behaviour of the Clerk. The Ombudsman also found that the Member’s actions could reasonably be regarded as behaviour which might bring the office of Member or the Council into disrepute and a potential breach of paragraph (6(1)(a) of the Code of Conduct.
The Ombudsman referred his investigation report to the Monitoring Officer of Gwynedd Council for consideration by its Standards Committee.
The Standards Committee censured Councillor Stevens as he resigned from the Council prior to the hearing. It said it would have suspended him for the fullest period possible and asked him to reflect on his behaviour.