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Torridge councillor brought council into disrepute with double expense claims

By NDJFran  |  Posted: September 01, 2014

Andy Boyd

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A TORRIDGE councillor has been found guilty of bringing the council into disrepute by claiming double expenses.

Andy Boyd, who represents the Torrington ward and is also a Devon county councillor, submitted mileage claims to Devon County Council and Torridge District Council between February 28, 2012 and July 31, 2013.

The issue was first raised by John Lewis at Torridge District Council’s annual general meeting on April 28 after he submitted a freedom of information request which revealed the double claims.

Mr Boyd said he had discovered the claims, reported them to the county council and paid back the money straight away.

But Torridge’s standards committee carried out its own investigation and last Thursday found Mr Boyd had brought the council into disrepute and used his positiona councillor to secure an advantage.

Council leader Philip Collins said: “Torridge District Council runs in an open and transparent way as far as is practically possible, and councillors are expected to behave in a certain way befitting the position they hold.

“The public should know councillor Boyd has been found to be in breach of the Members Code of Conduct.

“The standards committee has imposed the maximum sanctions it can in this case and has requested that the audit and governance committee consider the adoption of a procedure for the cross-checking of expense claims by dual-hatted members so this is unlikely to happen in the future.”

All Mr Boyd’s expense claims within six months of the decision must be counter-signed by the council’s head of finance.

Councillor Roger Johnson, leader of Torridge Conservative group, said Mr Boyd had been suspended from the group.

“We did suspend Andy Boyd from our Conservative group pending the outcome of various investigations,” he said.

“I will be taking advice from the Conservative Association which will take the relevant steps.”

Mr Boyd said he was investigated by Devon County Council and the police, who took no further action, in January and February.

“Yes, I have made the errors,” he said. “If I had known about it I wouldn’t have done it. The very second I found out I corrected it. I couldn’t have done any more.”

County council spokesman Mike Bomford said: “We are treating this matter very seriously and it will be discussed by our Standards Board. Their findings will be made public in due course.”

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