A FORMER town councillor from Pencoed has been disqualified from returning to office this week following a decision from the Adjudication Panel for Wales that ruled he had breached the council’s code of conduct.
Former councillor Gordon Lewis had failed to declare a criminal conviction when he stood for election for Pencoed Town Council in 2018 and in doing so breached the code set out for all elected members.
Lewis resigned from his position on the council in 2020 once the information became public though he had already acted as a member for one year and eight months when he was not eligible to do so.
The adjudication panel decided his actions went to the heart of
public trust in democracy and undermined the code and standards
regime. They concluded that the former councillor should be disqualified for 24 months from being or becoming a member of the council or any other relevant authority.
A spokesman for the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales said they had welcomed the decision and hoped it would deter anyone who is not eligible to stand for election from doing so in the future.
They said: “The ombudsman, Michelle Morris, welcomes the recent decision of the Adjudication Panel for Wales to disqualify former councillor Gordon Lewis of Pencoed Town Council from holding office as a councillor for two years.
“The ombudsman’s office investigated former councillor Lewis’ conduct and referred a report to the Adjudication Panel for Wales, which is the process when the ombudsman finds evidence that suggests an individual has breached the statutory code of conduct for elected members.
“The code of conduct for elected members is intended to maintain high standards in public life and includes the requirement that elected members should not bring their authority or their office as a councillor into disrepute.
“It is the role of the adjudication panel for Wales to independently consider evidence gathered by the ombudsman during an investigation and decide whether the elected member has breached the code of conduct.
“The adjudication panel found that the former councillor breached the code of conduct by having deliberately or recklessly completed election paperwork which falsely declared that he was eligible to stand for election in 2018 and having continued to act as a member despite being disqualified for being elected.
“It is hoped that lessons will be learned from this case and that the decision to disqualify the former councillor serves as a deterrent to anyone who is not eligible to stand for election from doing so.”