A councillor who was convicted of assault earlier this year has been formally censured by the local authority after rejecting renewed calls for him to resign.
Hartlepool Borough Council launched the investigation into councillor Gordon Cranney after it emerged he was re-elected to the Seaton ward in May's local elections just a week after he pleaded guilty to assaulting a woman.
The investigation has ruled he “significantly breached” the Code of Conduct for elected members in regards to “leadership”, “respect” and “bringing the council into disrepute.”
He was suspended by the Conservative Party and later resigned from the group, leaving him sitting as an independent councillor.
The investigation report into Cllr Cranney, which also raised concerns over his conduct since election, specifically social media misuse, went before Hartlepool’s full council on Thursday 29 September 29.
Councillors unanimously agreed to impose further sanctions, including formally censuring him “for his conduct and bringing the authority into disrepute”.
It means he will be officially reprimanded for his conduct.
The council will also write to Hartlepool’s MP and lobby Government to amend legislation to enable local authorities to dismiss a councillor where they have been convicted of violence against another person.
The sanctions added to those already imposed by the audit and governance committee, which included restricting his access to council premises for the remainder of his term.
Cllr Leisa Smith, presenting the report, said: “It was unacceptable that Councillor Cranney had not informed the borough council of his conviction.
“There could be no excuse for the offence his actions have caused and the reputational damage of the role of councillor and council itself.”
The scrutiny committee had also asked him to consider resigning, which was echoed at Thursday’s meeting.
Labour cllr Pamela Hargreaves said: “Rather than causing all of these arrangements to be put in place for a local authority that is already cash strapped, the sensible, moral and reasonable thing to do would be to resign.”
Numerous Conservative councillors added they had also asked their former party colleague to resign.
Cllr Cranney, speaking last week, said he had previously thought about it but “won’t be considering it anymore” and he has had “more and more people” coming to him for help around Hartlepool.
He added he was “disappointed” in how the inquiry had focused on issues beyond his conviction, although full council heard the councillor had “accepted the findings of the investigation”.
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