A builder used his position as a councillor to gain advantage and potentially broke the law when he took on a £10,000 contract.
James Bell, from Carnon Downs, failed to disclose an interest and brought his office into disrepute while serving as a member of Feock Parish Council.
Cornwall Council’s monitoring officer judged Mr Bell to be guilty of six breaches of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct, and potentially in breach of the law.
Feock Parish Council members voted to issue a “public censure” of his behaviour.
Mr Bell, who lost his seat in May 2013’s elections, was a serving councillor when he was appointed to act as contracts manager for the parish council on May 26, 2012, to oversee work on the Market Hall in Devoran for a fee of £10,000.
Simon Mansell, principal legal officer at Cornwall Council, wrote in his report into the allegations: “Councillor Bell was not acting as manager of the Market Hall Site for nothing and was being paid, by local standards, nearly a living wage for this one piece of work.
“While it is not within the remit of this assessment to question the value of the work, Councillor Bell should have been mindful of the public perception of him, as a councillor, being paid a five-figure sum by the council of which he was a member, and then taking part in all discussions relating to the matter.”
Mr Mansell said the code of conduct existed to ensure public confidence in the democratic process and it was difficult to see how that could be maintained when a councillor gained information which would be denied to other contractors in a similar position.
Mr Mansell said from July 1, 2012, it became a criminal offence under the Localism Act 2011 not to correctly register and declare a disclosable pecuniary – or monetary – interest, but said in this case it would not be in the public interest to pursue legal action against Mr Bell.
The report was also critical of Alan Truan, then the clerk to Feock Parish Council.