Hearing for councillor’s alleged code of conduct breach adjourned after he failed to attend
Katy Jenkins, local democracy reporter
An alleged breach of the code of conduct by a county councillor will now not be discussed until after the election after he failed to attend a schedule hearing this week.
Pembroke Dock councillor Paul Dowson was due to attended a standards committee hearing on Wednesday, March 9 but advised officers on Monday, March 7 that he would be unable to attend, a council’s solicitor said.
Jeffrey Harries told the committee that the hearing was planned to be held in County Hall but after Cllr Dowson said he couldn’t make it a virtual meeting was arranged, however, Cllr Dowson said on Tuesday, March 8 he was unable to attend that either.
The committee went into private session to discuss the reason for non-attendance and whether to hold the hearing in Cllr Dowson’s absence or to adjourn and decided to wait until after the election in May.
Committee chairman Corrina Kershaw said the adjournment would allow Cllr Dowson to attended in person as he had said he intended to do but the complication was “we are very close to entering the pre-election period.”
The committee will aim to schedule a hearing in June.
Ms Kershaw thanked two witnesses who had attended.
Details of the alleged breach are included in restricted documents and include a report by the Public Services Ombudsman for consideration.
A public covering report states that a pre-hearing was conducted into the matter by the committee on December 6, 2021 and resolved that Cllr Dowson should be given the opportunity to make representations, either orally or in writing “in respect of the findings of the investigation and any allegation that the Councillor has failed, or may have failed, to comply with the Code.”
A tribunal hearing of the Adjudication Panel for Wales is also due to be held, with a hearing date to be confirmed.
The alleged breaches related to paragraphs 4(c) and 6(1)(a) of the Council’s Code of Conduct, according the education panel website.
This is linked to the council’s constitution and member’s code of conduct to “4(c) not use bullying behaviour or harass any person;” and “6.(1) You must — (a) not conduct yourself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing your office or authority into disrepute;”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.