Belfast Telegraph

Ulster Unionist councillor receives partial suspension

The Northern Ireland Local Government Commissioner for Standards has imposed a three-month partial suspension on Alderman Jim Rodgers.

A veteran Ulster Unionist councillor in Belfast has been handed a three month partial suspension.

Alderman Jim Rodgers received the partial suspension following an adjudication hearing by the Northern Ireland Local Government Commissioner for Standards, Marie Anderson.

He has been suspended from membership of the East Belfast Area Working Group and the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee of Belfast City Council.

The Commissioner held, at a previous hearing on November 21, that Mr Rodgers had breached the Local Government Code of Conduct over a number of matters around failing to register or declare interests in a number of organisations including Ashfield Girls High School and Belmont Bowling Club.

Announcing her decision, the Commissioner found that Mr Rodgers has significant, non-pecuniary interests in both organisations, and that they ought to have been registered by him.

At the hearing held on December 5 to decide on sanction, the commissioner imposed a partial suspension on Mr Rodgers, preventing him from membership of the East Belfast Area Working Group, and the council’s Strategic Policy and Resources Committee for a period of three months.

The commissioner commented that but for his exemplary record of public service, she would have imposed a full suspension.

The partial suspension has no impact on Mr Rodgers’ other roles within the council.

Mr Rodgers has been an elected councillor since 1993 and has served twice as Lord Mayor of Belfast.

A council spokesman said: “Belfast City Council notes the decision from the NI Local Government Commissioner for Standards and will consider the commissioner’s report in full, upon receipt.

“Council was not consulted on the sanction.

“The rules around declarations of interest from councillors are extremely complex and sometimes difficult to apply.

“Council will look at the decision in order to ascertain what further assistance and clarification can be given to councillors around this area going forward.”

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