Council leader hits back: ‘I will not tolerate behaviour which undermines trust and confidence’

Council leader David Carr. Photograph: York Conservatives
25 Jan 2018 @ 11.56 am
| News, Politics

York council leader David Carr has issued a robust defence of his decision to sack a fellow Conservative councillor from the executive.

Having originally issued a statement saying Cllr Stuart Rawlings had “stepped down for personal reasons”, YorkMix revealed on Wednesday that in fact Cllr Carr had dismissed him as education, children & young people portfolio holder.

Cllr Rawlings issued a statement yesterday saying: “I have done nothing wrong”.

YorkMix also revealed that another Conservative on the executive, Sam Lisle, had resigned “on the basis of irreconcilable differences with the leader”.

But the council leader said today (Thursday) his decision to dismiss Cllr Rawlings was to maintain the “trust and confidence of the people of York”.

‘Highest standards of conduct’

City of York Council’s West Offices. Photograph: Richard McDougall

Cllr Carr praised his education portfolio holder for his hard work over the past two years, and said: “It is with regret that we are at this point.”

He said he was first informed by Cllr Rawlings in December that a family member had an interest in land that might be developed as part of the York Local Plan.

The situation was discussed over the next few weeks and it was decided on January 22 that “Cllr Rawlings should self-refer to the standards committee”.

Cllr Carr added: “I also felt he should stand down from the executive in view of his extended family’s interest in land that had not been declared and the political significance of the Local Plan.

“As my track record as leader shows, I expect members of the executive to maintain the highest standards of conduct and integrity.

“It is a privilege to be a councillor and especially a senior councillor. We carry the trust and confidence of the people of York and perception can be just as important as action.

“As leader of the council, I will not tolerate any behaviour which undermines that trust and confidence.”

Puzzled and disappointed

Cllr Rawlings with Cllr Sam Lisle

He also commented on the resignation of Cllr Lisle.

“I am puzzled and disappointed by Cllr Lisle’s resignation. My only observation would be that he is a joint ward councillor with Cllr Rawlings and a close colleague of his.”

YorkMix has learned that at least two very senior members of the York Conservative Group have now called on David Carr to resign.

David Carr’s statement in full

Over the past two years, Cllr Rawlings has worked hard for the city of York, earning the respect of residents and the many schools and colleges he visited.

He developed strong relationships with young people in care (through the Show Me That I Matter Project) and spent time with social workers.

We achieved a good outcome with Ofsted, our schools and colleges are amongst the highest performing in the country and we engaged families and children in the development of the Centre for Excellence for Disabled Children, taking proposals to Executive this Thursday (25th January).

It is with regret that we are at this point.

I was first informed by Cllr Rawlings on 14th December 2017, when it appeared in the press, that his family had interest in a development site being promoted by developers for inclusion in the Local Plan.

Over the following few weeks, Cllr Rawlings and I discussed the situation with the Monitoring Officer with the result that on 22nd January 2018 it was decided that Cllr Rawlings should self-refer to the standards committee.

I also felt he should stand down from the Executive in view of his extended family’s interest in land that had not been declared and the political significance of the Local Plan.

As my track record as leader shows, I expect members of the Executive to maintain the highest standards of conduct and integrity.

It is a privilege to be a councillor and especially a senior councillor. We carry the trust and confidence of the people of York and perception can be just as important as action.

As Leader of the Council, I will not tolerate any behaviour which undermines that trust and confidence.

I am puzzled and disappointed by Cllr Lisle’s resignation. My only observation would be that he is a joint ward councillor with Cllr Rawlings and a close colleague of his.