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City of York Council leader James Alexander rapped over conduct comments
YORK’S council leader has been rapped for public comments about an investigation into a rival councillor.
Coun James Alexander twice referred to a City of York Council probe into the alleged conduct of Liberal Democrat councillor Nigel Ayre after York City’s play-off final at Wembley in May, while answering questions from Coun Ayre at July’s council meeting.
A complaint was referred to a council standards sub-committee, which has now ruled Coun Alexander’s comments amounted to “a failure to treat Coun Ayre with respect”.
The committee’s findings, seen by The Press, said Coun Alexander’s comments “went further than could be justified by robust political debate”. The committee said it was “particularly concerned” he repeated them in written answers.
It recommended the meeting’s minutes be amended to omit the comments. Coun Alexander has been notified, but no further action is required.
Coun Alexander said: “I was referred to the standards committee by the Liberal Democrats because I believe transparency to the public is important, and highlighted the investigation into Coun Ayre’s conduct, and I believed this matter had been concluded following Coun Ayre’s apology.
”Volunteers to monitor behaviour
TWO York residents are to be recruited as volunteers to help monitor the behaviour of the city’s councillors, City of York Council is advertising for two independent people to “assist in maintaining and promoting high ethical standards in the City Council and the parish councils in York”.
All councils must create at least one such post to comply with the Localism Act 2011, but York has decided to recruit two people to work together.
If a complaint is made about a councillor’s conduct, the independent volunteers will be consulted on whether to launch an investigation and what decision to take following any investigation.They may also be consulted on other standards matters, including by the subject of an allegation. The roles are an unpaid position but travel and subsistence expenses will be reimbursed.
Anyone interested in the role can email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to The Monitoring Officer, City of York Council, Guildhall, York, YO1 9QN. The deadline is September 10.