Councillor Jim Rodgers handed partial suspension from Belfast City Council
A Ulster Unionist Alderman has received a partial suspension from his duties on Belfast City Council following a judgement by the local government watchdog.
Jim Rodgers was handed a three-month partial suspension after an adjudication hearing of the Northern Ireland Local Government Commissioner for Standards on Wednesday.
The Commissioner Marie Anderson confirmed the suspension in a statement on Thursday morning, adding a full suspension would have been imposed if it were not for Alderman Rodgers' exemplary record of public service.
In her judgement, the Commissioner said Mr Rodgers had failed to declare non-pecuniary interests in Ashfield Girls' School and Belmont Bowling Club - both of which had applied for funding from a council group Mr Rodgers was a member of.
The decision means he is suspended from membership of the East Belfast Area Working Group and the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, of which he is the chairman.
During the meeting legal representatives for Alderman Rodgers argued he he was no longer a Board of Governor of Ashfield Girls' School, and that he does not have a participative or an active role in Belmont Bowling club.
The Commissioner found Mr Rodgers' failure to declare his interests at meetings and to leave the room when his interests were discussed amounted to 'substantial breaches'.
Deputy Commissioner Mr Paul McFadden explained during the hearing that money had been made available to local organisations by Belfast City Council through the Local Investment Fund.
Under the scheme Belmont Bowling Club had applied to the East Belfast Area Working Group for £200,000, with Ashfield Girls' School applying for £130,000.
The partial suspension will not impact Mr Rodgers' other roles within Belfast City Council.
At an earlier hearing on November 21 the Commissioner found Mr Rodgers had breached the local government code of conduct over failing to register his interest in Belmont Bowling Club, of which he is an honorary member, and Ashfield Girls' High School, of which he is a longstanding board of governors member.
Alderman Rodgers has 10 days to appeal the decision against him.
Belfast Telegraph Digital