Convicted Ripon councillor replaced as Finance Chair amid further protestors’ concerns

Ripon City Council Meeting - picture by Alex Florence Photography
Ripon City Council Meeting - picture by Alex Florence Photography
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Convicted Councillor Andrew Williams has officially been replaced as chair of the Finance and General Purposes Committee (F&GP) in a council meeting on Monday, July 27.

Conservative Councillor Peter Pearson beat off competition from Independent Councillor Sid Hawke by a vote of 6-5 to take over from the former Mayor of the City.

However, the leadership change and Coun Williams’ resignation failed to appease some city councillors as well as members of the public who made their concerns heard once again.

Despite the council agreeing at last month’s meeting that no member with a criminal conviction could sit on the F+GP committee until their conviction was spent, Coun Williams’ was still represented at the meeting by the substituting Coun Peter Horton (Ind).

Coun Mick Stanley argued: “I brought the motion. This council passed the motion, therefore it becomes a standing order. There is no debate unless a higher court overthrows it. It’s very simple.

“When we have a standing order it stays in place until a higher court gets rid of it or this council decides to.”

The council clerk and Deputy Mayor, Coun Adrian Morgan (Ind) explained they were still seeking clarification from the National Association of Local Council’s solicitor and a decision on the subject would be deferred.

Coun Williams also faced questioning from the public about his involvement and registers of interest with a company called Foss Islands Media.

According to information at Companies House, Coun Williams is registered as a director of the company however, up until July 5, the company was registered to the Mayor, Coun Pauline McHardy’s address.

While the address has now been changed to one belonging to Coun Williams, the public questioned why the information had not been published on either of the councillors’ register of interests.