Complaints are about to be lodged across the region (and across the country) to Local Authorities' Monitoring Officers; the District Auditor; the Standards Board and eventually the Director of Public Prosecutions, about Assembly members 'failing to declare a pecuniary interest.'
When approving the 'voluntary subscriptions' to either the assemblies or local authority associations the councillors 'forgot' to declare that they have a financial interest. As members of an 'unicorporated association' they are 'jointly and severally liable' for any debts accrued by that organisation. Hardly ethical, or legal therefore, to agree to approve the very budgets the cessation of which would give rise to a personal liability!
This should apply to North East, North West, South West, East of England,
and also applies to Directors of a Limited Company, such as SEERA Ltd., if the councillors who are directors sat in on council meetings without declaring a pecuniary interest.
The East Midlands Regional Assembly has a different set up, being funded solely by central government.
Former Mayor of Stockton Council, Bob Gibson is all too aware of the consequences. He has a criminal conviction for 'failing to declare a pecuniary interest' in 1997. Seems like when it is reported that your political career is in ruins it is an important factor in re-emerging higher up the political ladder. Mr. Mandelson is also another prime example.
Bob Gibson is now Leader of Stockton Council and Chairman of the North East Assembly and the Association of North East Councils (ANEC).
The Northern Echo 30/07/1997
A Senior North-East councillor’s career lay in ruins last nights after he was convicted of failing to declare an interest when making decisions about his workplace.
Guisborough Magistrates Court heard that labour councillor Bob Gibson, former mayor of Stockton Borough Council, served on committees last year, that rubber-stamped plans to relocate the factory where he worked as a wood machinist.
Cleveland police’s fraud squad alleged that he used his position within the council to safeguard his job with the struggling company.
He was found guilty on four counts of failing to declare a pecuniary interest, and fined a total of £800 plus £140 costs.
His employers, Crosby-Sarek of Norton Road, Stockton, first approached the council in 1995, after a slump in business forced them to consider relocating their 150 strong workforce and wood furnishing factory to a new site.
In 1996, the firm proposed to move the factory to a Greenfield site, leaving the Norton Road site derelict so that it could be put up for redevelopment by Stockton City Challenge, Stockton Council and government agency, English Partnerships.
Ken Hoy, prosecuting, said, that Gibson, 59, who was mayor of Stockton at the time chaired council meetings throughout July August September 1996 that voted on the relocation proposal.
The prosecution also maintained that Gibson of Appleton Road Stockton did not declare his interest in the issue or that it would directly affect him should it be approved.
The eventual relocation plans for the Crosby –sarek factory never materialised and the parent company premdoor of Canada laid off the workforce and closed the site.
Yesterday, Gibson, who is now unemployed, said: “To say that my fortunes would have been improved by relocating the factory is a total nonsense.
“The plans for redevelopment weren’t even due to be put forward for two-and-a half years. “Last night he was considering an appeal against the convictions.
Detective Sergeant Bob Bussey of the fraud squad said, “ This legislation exists to prevent councillors from abusing their position. “Last night, a spokeswoman for Stockton council said: “We have no comment to make on this matter. Mr Gibson is still leader of the council until March or April 1998. “Today, Gibson is scheduled to meet chief executive George Garlick for a briefing meeting.
Monday, February 28, 2005
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