Posted: Wed 17th Apr 2024

Chairman of Council Committee Resigns Amid Claims of Undermined Independence /

THE chairman of a council committee that polices the conduct of councillors has quit – amid claims his independence has been “undermined”. 
Richard Stow resigned from his position as the independent chairman of Monmouthshire County Council’s standards committee early in April. 
Monmouthshire County Council has confirmed that Mr Stow has resigned but it first came to light as a motion, to be discussed by the full council, claims he walked away from the post as the committee and his role as its independent chair have been “undermined”. 
News website Nation Cymru has also reported that Mr Stow sent an email to senior council officials stating he is resigning with “immediate effect” as “the proper functioning of the committee, and my role as independent chair, have been undermined to the extent that I am not prepared to continue as a member.” 
The council motion also states the independent chair had cited “the proper functioning of the committee” and his role, had been “undermined”. 
The Local Democracy Reporting Service has attempted to contact Mr Stow, who was entitled to collect a £268 daily fee from public funds for every full day he worked for the council or half that for half days, but he has failed to respond to messages. 
Mr Stow isn’t a county councillor but is appointed, following a selection process, to chair a committee of three councillors and four other co-opted members of the public who are invited to sit on the committee that can consider complaints against councillors and also ensures the council’s whistle blowing policy and complaints procedure operate effectively. 
It is responsible for “promoting and maintaining high standards of conduct by councillors and co-opted members” and it has the power to investigate complaints that members of the county council, as well as town and community councils, have breached the code of conduct. 
A spokesman for Monmouthshire County Council said: “Mr Stow has tendered his resignation as independent chair of the council’s standards committee.  
 “We are appreciative of the contribution that Richard has made in his time with us. He has been an excellent chair. An interim arrangement will be in place pending the appointment of a new chair. 
 “Mr Stow has so far chosen not to elaborate on his reasoning beyond the text of his resignation note.” 
The full council will be asked to commit to upholding standards in public life and suppport the committee in addressing “the issues the independent members of the committee identify as undermining the proper functioning of the committee” when it meets at County Hall in Usk, at 2pm, on Thursday, April 18. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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