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Howard and Byrne Solicitors, York - Criminal Defence Specialists

Code of conduct breached by York councillor

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7:57am 3rd August 2011
(Updated 7:59am 3rd August 2011)

Consideration of a potential breach of the Councillor Code of Conduct by Labour Councillor Anna Semlyen has concluded that she can continue to serve her ward as a Labour councillor.

Coun. Semlyen referred herself to the council's senior legal officer concerning a possible breach of the Code in early June, but a Standards Sub-Committee has concluded that further formal action cannot be justified.

In a written judgment, the Committee stated that taking into account Coun. Semlyen's self-referral, her action in cancelling a public event at her home which she had advertised by email (a reason given for the potential breach) and her inexperience as a new councillor, it agreed action other than a formal investigation was appropriate.

Coun. Semlyen will be offered training to ensure that she understands the Councillor Code of Conduct, especially as she is self-employed which can lead to potential conflicts of interest for elected representatives.

Coun. Semlyen says:

"Before referring myself to the council's Monitoring Officer, I booked to meet him for clarification regarding potential conflicts of interest concerning my role as a councillor and being self-employed.

"I'm pleased that this matter has been brought to a satisfactory conclusion.  As a new councillor I realise there is a lot to learn and I am keen to ensure I follow the council's rules and procedures fully in carrying out my role.  I can now concentrate solely on representing Dringhouses and Woodthorpe residents which is what I stood for election to do".

Labour Group Leader, Coun. James Alexander says:

"I think the right conclusion has been reached in this case and I'm looking forward to Anna contributing to the Labour Group now this issue is out of the way.  Labour has the highest expectations of probity for our elected representatives and this is why Anna referred herself to the Monitoring Officer at the earliest opportunity. 

"Anna has a lot of energy and good ideas that will stand her in good stead over the period of this council".

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