Standards Committee suspends Williamson 

25/03/10

Bolton Council’s Standards Committee has suspended Councillor Williamson for four months from membership of the Council, including the payment of his allowance.

At a hearing last week, the committee found that the contents of an email dated 24th November, 2010 sent to Mr Tyler were disrespectful, inappropriate and offensive.

Councillor Williamson shall be suspended from membership of the Council for the period of four months, including suspension of the payment of his allowance for the same period. The suspension will take effect from Monday, 22nd March, 2010.

The committee’s reasons for deciding to impose a four month suspension are that this was a serious breach of the Code, in that Councillor Williamson’s email had been disrespectful, inappropriate and offensive. Councillor Williamson is also a senior and experienced Elected Member and should have been more aware that his actions were disrespectful, particularly as he had been sanctioned for a similar breach against a Council officer in 2008. Accordingly, the committee felt that a more serious sanction should be imposed on this occasion.

In addition, Councillor Williamson appeared to show no remorse for his actions and informed the Committee that he would not attend the Hearing which it was considered showed a disregard for the work of the Standards Committee.

The Chairman of the Standards Committee, Dr Robert Aston commented: “Bolton is fortunate in having a Council that, in general, maintains the highest standards of ethical conduct. It is therefore very disappointing that such a senior and experienced Councillor has breached the Code of Conduct for the second time. The Standards Committee simply will not tolerate disregard for the high standards expected of those who hold public office, and will take rigorous action against those who disregard them.”

The standards committee also recommended that all elected members must be made aware that inappropriate, disrespectful or offensive language should not be used under any circumstances and that the findings of this hearing should be brought specifically to the attention of elected and co-opted members.

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