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Election of a Chairman
To elect a Chairman for the meeting.
It was proposed by Councillor J M Smith, and duly seconded:
RESOLVED: That Councillor B W Butcher be appointed Chairman for the duration of the meeting.
To receive any apologies for absence.
There were no apologies for absence received.
Appointment of Substitute Members
To note appointments of Substitute Members.
There were no substitute members appointed.
To receive any declarations of interest from Members in respect of business to be transacted on the agenda.
There were no declarations of interest.
To consider the report of the Investigating Officer.
1.1 On 22 September 2014, the Hearing Panel of Dover District Council considered a report of an investigation into the alleged conduct of Councillor John Ledger, a member of Ripple Parish Council. A general summary of the complaint is set out below.
2.1 On 6 June 2013, the Monitoring Officer referred an allegation made by Mr Roger Chatfield (at the time a member of Ripple Parish Council) that Councillor John Ledger of Ripple Parish Council had failed to comply with the parish council’s Code of Conduct for investigation.
2.2 The complaint related to allegations that at a private meeting of Ripple Parish Council held at the home of the subject member on 13 December 2012, and at the subsequent public Parish Council meeting, Councillor J Ledger remained at the meetings when the matter under discussion related to a piece of land in which he had a potential Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (DPI). The DPI was said to arise from his ownership of land affected by an application for village green registration at Coldblow Woods.
2.3 A further allegation related to comments from Councillor Ledger towards a member of the public whom it was alleged he told to “shut up and sit down” during the course of the Parish Council.
2.2 On 28 July 2014 the Monitoring Officer considered the report of the Investigating Officer he had appointed. In that report the Investigating Officer concluded that there was evidence in his opinion that Councillor Ledger had, by not withdrawing after declaring an interest at both the private meeting of the Parish Council and at the subsequent public meeting of Ripple Parish Council later that day, breached paragraphs 5(2)(c) and 5(2)(d) of the Code of Conduct as followed:
· Paragraph 5(2)(c) Where you are present at a Meeting and have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest or Other Significant Interest in any matter to be considered, or being considered, at the Meeting, you must not participate in any discussion of, or vote taken on, the matter of the Meeting.
· Paragraph 5(2)(d) Where you are present at a Meeting and have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest or Other Significant Interest in any matter to be considered, or being considered, at the Meeting, you must withdraw from the Meeting room in accordance with the Authority’s Procedure Rules whenever it becomes apparent that the business is being considered.
2.3 In respect of allegations relating to paragraphs 3(2)(f),of the Code of Conduct (conduct himself in a manner which could be reasonably be regarded as bringing his authority into disrepute) or 3(2)(g) of the Code of Conduct (use or attempt to use his position as a Member to confer on or secure for himself or another person, an advantage or disadvantage), the Investigating Officer’s report found no evidence to support the allegations that Councillor Ledger had breached these parts of the Code.
2.4 The Monitoring Officer referred the findings of the Investigating Officer relating to a failure to comply with paragraphs 5(2)( ... view the full minutes text for item 5.