Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 15, 2016

Owls Ask Local “Two Hatted” Councillor If He Claims Full Council Allowances From BOTH His Councils.

Once again the ethical standard of a councillor, treating others with respect, is being questioned by Our West Lancashire owllogo. The Councillors’ Code of Conduct is in place “to protect all residents of West Lancashire, to ensure that they are fairly represented by their local councillors”. The evidence mounts that whatever a Standards Committee considers it must take account of poor attendance due to membership of two different borough councils.

The OWL case is that “Cllr Paul Moon’s attendance record shows he can’t fulfil the role at West Lancashire and Wyre at the same time and should resign. In October, after a local blog site, West Lancashire Record revealed that Hesketh Bank councillor Paul Moon was also a sitting councillor for Wyre. We called on Cllr Moon to resign.

“In the correspondence, Cllr Moon said “As for meeting attendance the only ones I’ve not attended are for holidays that were booked prior to the election in May.”. We pointed out that the public attendance records at Wyre and West Lancashire painted a different story.

“After further recent absences including from the full council meeting at West Lancashire last night (14 December) Our West Lancashire councillor, Adrian Owens adrian1 has written again to Councillor Moon and the correspondence is detailed below. We will update this page when Cllr Moon replies.

“Email to Cllr Paul Moon – 15th December 2016
“Dear Paul,
“In our recent correspondence you stated in the attached email “As for meeting attendance the only ones I’ve not attended are for holidays that were booked prior to the election in May.” I then pointed out in the email of 23 October at 2032 hours that you had also missed several other meetings.

“Given this exchange, I had expected that your attendance would improve, so I was surprised to note that you were absent from the full council meeting at West Lancashire last night, giving apologies. The meeting discussed important matters including the approval of a revised capital programme with an important project in your Hesketh Bank ward; new Living Wage levels and our council tax support scheme on which your ward residents would have expected your input.

“This is not the only formal council meeting that you have missed recently. On November 24th, you were absent from a meeting you were expected to attend at Wyre on their Licensing Committee because you were attending a meeting of the Executive Overview and Scrutiny Committee in West Lancashire – another diary clash between the two councils.

“It appears clear from your attendance records at both councils, that you are struggling and unable to devote the necessary attention to complete both roles fully. I am therefore writing to ask you to confirm whether or not you are currently receiving the full councillor allowance from both Wyre and from West Lancashire and I look forward to your response to this specific point.

“In all the circumstances, I repeat that the only honourable course of action in the circumstances is for you to resign as a member of West Lancashire Borough Council with immediate effect.

“Yours sincerely

“Cllr Adrian Owens, Our West Lancashire”

From the   hubpic

A platform for local village news and events. Hesketh-with-Becconsall. As we all know the northern wards of West Lancashire are served by borough councillors and county councillors from the neighbouring South Ribble Association. The details are to be found on the South Ribble Association website. But there are no details about Paul Moon, elected in May 2016. The hub contains this reference from Moon, below

!Paul Moon. The election leaflets will be delivered over the next few days. Just to say I’m a retired Lancashire fireman and prior to that a dairy herdsman. I am very interested in planning issues, condition of the roads and littering to name just a few. I’m at the Brow.
15 April at 00:10″

So the Hesketh-with-Becconsall electorate presumably received Moon’s election leaflets between then and 7 May, election day. But it seems many did not.

WLR recently wrote “So is part-timing two-hatting two-allowances Cllr Moon balancing his commitments to local democracy and his local electorate in such a way as to demean the public offices he holds? As he dodges and weaves his way through the meetings diaries collecting joint allowances and seemingly receiving no criticism for it from the West Lancashire opposition leader Wally Westley we wonder if he is in it for the money, the public money?

“Perchance you wonder how important matters in Hesketh-with-Becconsall are to the electorate there, consider that at the WLBC Planning Committee last night an item of extreme importance was being discussed, the reserved matters of the proposed building of 212 houses on the Henry Alty Ltd land in Hesketh Bank. Local residents attended and spoke with a passion that stirred the council chamber full with standing room only into murmurs of agreement, local democracy in full voice. But where was Cllr Moon? Not being a member of the WLBC planning committee you might think he was at one of his homes counting his allowances? But what will he now be able to say to those residents of Hesketh-with-Becconsall who elected him about the decision to defer the proposal? Nothing”. We ask – is this episode last night fair representation of an electorate by a councillor? Or is his view of fairness picking up two full time allowances? moonmissing 

Speaking to the Advertiser, Moon stated that although his position on two councils was unusual, he would not be resigning from the council. He said “My position on the Wyre and West Lancashire Borough Council is perfectly legal and I work in order with both the council and the conservative leadership. I have given a lot of my life to public service and will not be resigning from my seat. It’s not going to happen”. In which case we might conclude that while he has “given” a lot of his life he has “taken” a lot of public money. Perhaps the two don’t always match up as fair representation of two electorates?

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