The York Council Joint Standards Committee – which is charged with ensuring there is probity in public life – meets for the first time in the new Council session on 17th June.
The, decidedly thin, agenda can be viewed by clicking here. It involves only the appointment of a chair, a vice chair and agreeing future meeting dates.
As well as regulating the activities of City of York Councillors, the 10 strong committee also considers complaints about Parish Councillor conduct. The parishes appoint 3 members to the committee. Two of the three nominations are former City of York Councillors. Both were rejected by the electorate at the recent May 3rd poll. (Stuart Rawlings and Sian Wiseman)
Only one of the Council appointed members has (recent) previous experience of York Council work. Ironically that is former Leader David Carr. Cllr Carr was himself the subject of a complaint over his handling of, what turned out to be, bogus allegations against Cllrs Aspden and Ayre in 2017.
It has taken 2 years and expenditure of over £100,000 to resolve those claims.
Steps were taken to start an independent inquiry into the process used by York Council officials to resolve the Aspden/Ayre case. There has been no recent update on the progress of this investigation. The Councillors themselves suffered a significant financial penalty as they lost earnings and had to pay for their own legal representation (costs thought to be in excess of £10,000).
The expectation had been that the outstanding case would have been resolved by now with the conclusion being reported to this standards committee meeting on 17th June.
The minutes from the committees last meeting, held on 13th February, included the following comment
” Since the committee’s last meeting in November 2018, two long running cases had been concluded and two cases remained ongoing. Details were set out in the table at paragraph 2 of the report. Members noted that one of the ongoing cases was likely to be concluded in February and stressed the importance of concluding the other case, which dated from 2017, before the start of the pre-election purdah period on 26 March 2019“.
The case started in September 2017 but investigated allegations going back as far as 2014.
It now seems that there will be no final closure on the Nigel Ayre case for a few more weeks at least.
The actual investigation into the case is understood to have concluded last year.