Councillor who called resident ‘a joke’ must send letter of apology

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The chairman of Grange Park Parish Council has been ordered to write a letter of apology to a member of the public who he called ‘a joke’ during a meeting.

South Northamptonshire Council’s standards committee heard that on March 1 last year, parish council chairman, Councillor Martin Smith, called a member of the public a joke during a public question session.

The standards committee ruled that such behaviour meant the councillor had not treated the member of public with respect.

Councillor Robin Digby, the chairman of the standards committee said: “We’re always sorry to see cases of this kind, but standards need to be maintained at all times in public meetings.”

The committee also found that both Councillor Smith and Councillor Anthony Walker had failed to comply with requirements concerning the declaration of personal interests arising from their respective roles with the Grange Park Community and Sports Association.

In addition to censuring both councillors the committee urged Councillor Smith to send a written letter of apology to the member of the public and recommended that the parish council receive training in chairmanship, meeting procedures and the councillors’ code of conduct.