Posted by: westlancashirerecord | May 13, 2018

Cllr Paul Moon And His Public Record

Local politicians love the press. Every week they or their parties are quoted, in articles or letters. Occasionally they get bad press, and like any elected member Wyre and WLBC Cllr Paul Moon  has had some. He’s done service as a councillor he could reasonably be proud of, and he’s had episodes that shame him. These matters are and have been reported in newspapers like the Garstang Courier and the Fleetwood Weekly News. He gained notoriety. 

Moon is not known to have disagreed with the accuracy of the reports and the witnesses of those newspapers at the time of the episodes including that of the assault on Mrs Horner about which he resigned from Wyre Borough cabinet, nor of wearing underpants on his head in a council meeting. How could he stay? So just who does HE think he is? A lilywhite paragon of virtue? 

But on social media, in which he willingly partakes, he is challenged and replies “Tony, you read and believe any story you wish”. In a further reference to the underpants episode he replied “Yes a photo shopped effort” but adds “Not my style of garment, lol”. Was the style of underpants important then, or the disrespect of wearing of them on his head? He claims he is trolled, when in fact he is being “trawled” and reported on. His record in Wyre came to be scrutinised in West Lancashire because his “fame” for want of a better word, which might be “infamy”, was to be a two-hatter at the same level in two councils. Not the Borough/County level but the borough/borough level. Two  part-time jobs, two full time allowances.

Also, during the recent exchanges on social media about Wyre and West Lancashire Cllr P Moon CGC asked “Is it also correct that our Cllr Moon has also just been promoted to Chair of Wyre Planning Committee? TPJ replied “I think that’s right, but if you don’t live in an area full time and only visit a registered property to pick up your mail and golf clubs is it moral, considering the sums of money for expenses?”

All of which heightens further interest in Moon. How is his activity in Preesall Wyre affecting his ward activity in Hesketh-with-Becconsall WLBC? We discover much more than his claim of “a helping hand to that area but it due to come to an end very soon”. He currently has standards issues outstanding in Wyre.

Wyre Council Standards Committee Thursday 16 November 2017 Item 6 Summary of Current Complaints. 2017/06 Complainants 2 Wyre Councillors Subject Member A Wyre Councillor. Category of Complaint Failure to properly register pecuniary interests. Progress/Outcome. Preliminary tests considered by the Monitoring Officer and an Independent Person. Monitoring Officer investigating investigating further to establish whether or not there has potentially been a breach of the Code. The Standards Committee minutes for 16 November 2017 state STA.08 Declarations of interest. Councillor Moon declared a significant non-pecuniary interest in agenda item 6 (Summary of Current Complaints) because he had been informed he was the subject member in complaint Ref: 2017/06. He said that he would withdraw from the meeting should the complaint be discussed in any detail.

The Monitoring Officer submitted a report on a proposed media policy for councillors. The Monitoring Officer reminded the Committee that there had been a discussion at its last meeting about the possibility of having a protocol for members on the use of social media. The proposed policy, attached as an appendix to her report, had been adapted for Wyre from a policy recently introduced at South Ribble District Council, where Barry Parsonage was also an Independent Person for standards issues. She said that she was having to deal more frequently with issues arising from the use of social media which, if handled incorrectly, could get members into unnecessary hot water. The proposed policy would provide guidance to members and ultimately would also make it easier for this committee to decide, if necessary, whether or not there had been a breach of the Code of Conduct, when dealing with a complaint.

Standards Committee of Wyre Borough Council held on 15 March 2018.STA.19 Declarations of interest. Councillor Moon declared a significant interest (non-pecuniary) in agenda item 6 (Summary of Current Complaints) because he had been informed that he was the subject member in complaint Ref: 2017/06. He said that he would withdraw from the meeting should the complaint be discussed in any detail. Ref: 2017/06 An initial investigation has been completed and the complainants have been updated. However, additional questions had been raised by the complainants and these were currently being considered. Councillors present: Councillors I Amos, M Anderton, B Birch (Chairman), Catterall, Lees and Moon (Vice Chairman).

Q(k) Intimidation of local councillors. The Committee noted that this question had been included in the consultation as a follow up to a separate review recently undertaken by the Committee on Standards in Public Life on intimidation of candidates during the 2017 elections (and that for that review, intimidation had been interpreted as “words and/or behaviour intended or likely to block or deter participation, which could reasonably lead to an individual wanting to withdraw from public life”).The review had revealed that some candidates had experienced physical violence, damage to property, threats and abusive online and offline communication. Women, particularly black and Asian women, candidates and MPs were found to be disproportionally subjected to intimidation. A large amount of concern about intimidation via social media had also been reported. The intimidation of candidates at elections was not considered to be a particular problem in Wyre, but concerns were expressed about the potential impact of increasingly vitriolic social media attacks on individual Councillors.

Appointments to Committees Panels and Groups 2018/19 PLANNING COMMITTEE -Moon (Chairman)* AUDIT COMMITTEE- Moon STANDARDS COMMITTEE-Moon (ViceChairman)*. PLANNING POLICY GROUP-Moon (Chairman)* Note: * The appointment of Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen is subject to confirmation at the first meeting of each of the Committees, Panels and Groups.

But the most interesting aspect of it all comes back to that Standards Committee investigation running while there is a proposal to make him Planning Committee chairman. Has Wyre even questioned his fitness for the role? Or is it taken for granted he will be exonerated?

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