Councillor writes letter of apology after being disciplined for having pornography on council laptop

First published in News Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter (Richmond)

A COUNCILLOR has apologised after being disciplined for repeatedly viewing pornographic material on his council laptop.

Richmondshire district councillor Malcolm Gardner, from Healaugh, was ordered by a standards hearing to return his computer equipment and told to apologise to the officials who discovered the material on the laptop.

In a letter published in The Darlington & Stockton Times today (Friday, August 15), Cllr Gardner said: “As the Richmondshire District Councillor for Swaledale, may I offer my sincere apologies for the recent article.

“Let me assure you all that I did nothing illegal and I am sorry that the article caused concern and embarrassment to you all and my family.

“Let me further assure you all that this will not happen again. This will not reflect on my ability to be your district councillor and I will continue to work tirelessly on all of your behalf.

“I hope that this can put an end to the matter, and that we can all move on.”

The disciplinary hearing heard Cllr Gardener had been warned in August 2012 about the inappropriate use of the computer – but continued watch pornography over the following two years.

The council standards hearing panel ruled it constituted a breach of the council's member code of conduct as it could bring the authority into disrepute.

Cllr Gardner is a member of the ruling independent group on the local authority, as well as a member of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

Council leader John Blackie confirmed that he had spoken to the councillor in 2012 about his use of the laptop after council officers found evidence of improper use.

"I'm very disappointed that his conduct has fallen below the level that would be expected of a local councillor.

"He was given a last warning in respect of his use of the council laptop by myself as his leader and by the officer.

"I am disappointed that he has chosen to overlook that warning but I am sure that he has learnt his lesson.

"He is a hard working local councillor and I know from my own experience that he goes the extra mile for the local communities which he represents."

The standards panel report stated: "Following information received by junior officers of the council, the monitoring officer considered that there was evidence that Cllr Malcolm Gardner had breached the council’s information systems acceptable use policy by using his council laptop to access pornographic material."

Comments (10)

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9:48pm Fri 15 Aug 14

conlinjohn@ymail.com says...

Should be Sacked if he obviously has't got the guts to resign coward and he's a **** addict not satisfied with getting away with once (he was previously warned) continues to do it No morals what so ever
Should be Sacked if he obviously has't got the guts to resign coward and he's a **** addict not satisfied with getting away with once (he was previously warned) continues to do it No morals what so ever conlinjohn@ymail.com
  • Score: 5

8:53am Sat 16 Aug 14

darloboss says...

hand back the laptop resign from the council and lock yourself in your bedroom enjoying your own company sad person
hand back the laptop resign from the council and lock yourself in your bedroom enjoying your own company sad person darloboss
  • Score: 6

9:29am Sat 16 Aug 14

reasoned view says...

And to think people like this feel they are pillars of the community. I need a house extension approving. Where can I send a copy of Razzle to ensure it is passed
And to think people like this feel they are pillars of the community. I need a house extension approving. Where can I send a copy of Razzle to ensure it is passed reasoned view
  • Score: 8

7:47pm Sat 16 Aug 14

spragger says...

Hopefully his electorate will deal with him at the next election ..
Hopefully his electorate will deal with him at the next election .. spragger
  • Score: 5

2:18pm Tue 19 Aug 14

Sgt Bigirimana says...

Why hasn't he been sacked? If this was a council officer, he/she would of been removed immediately.

Dirty, dirty man.
Why hasn't he been sacked? If this was a council officer, he/she would of been removed immediately. Dirty, dirty man. Sgt Bigirimana
  • Score: 4

11:07am Sun 24 Aug 14

Teesflyer says...

“I hope that this can put an end to the matter, and that we can all move on.” - I'll just bet he does. How can he still be in post? surely it must count as Gross Misconduct - well, gross at least. Must have been a few dodgy handshakes behind closed doors at RDC.
“I hope that this can put an end to the matter, and that we can all move on.” - I'll just bet he does. How can he still be in post? surely it must count as Gross Misconduct - well, gross at least. Must have been a few dodgy handshakes behind closed doors at RDC. Teesflyer
  • Score: 4

8:04pm Sun 24 Aug 14

behonest says...

He won't resign, because he can't bear the thought of removing his snout from the taxpayers trough. He should be sacked, and if he can't be sacked then this just shows how corrupt the political system is.
He won't resign, because he can't bear the thought of removing his snout from the taxpayers trough. He should be sacked, and if he can't be sacked then this just shows how corrupt the political system is. behonest
  • Score: 3

9:54pm Sun 24 Aug 14

Teesflyer says...

Complete tosser - as if we didn't know!
Complete tosser - as if we didn't know! Teesflyer
  • Score: 1

10:36pm Sun 24 Aug 14

Risk555 says...

Loving the faux outrage - of course one responding to this thread has ever watched ****, oh no. Mary Whitehouse would be proud.
Loving the faux outrage - of course one responding to this thread has ever watched ****, oh no. Mary Whitehouse would be proud. Risk555
  • Score: 1

5:50pm Fri 12 Sep 14

Yan Tan says...

Risk555 The issue is not that other people are looking at **** (don't be shy, our local councillor isn't) The issue is that he has been caught looking at **** on a Publicly funded Laptop, provided for him to undertake legitimate work on behalf of the Council and the public that he represents. This, does not include looking at ****! The assumption must also be that he's not simply 'looking' at **** on our time and money! How many 'final' warnings must someone get before they are sacked? This is not my first run-in with Mr Gardner. He has his finger in EVERY Local Pie. It's time he retired and (possibly) masterbated to **** on his own time? Are we to find out what sort of **** it was? I guess not!
Risk555 The issue is not that other people are looking at **** (don't be shy, our local councillor isn't) The issue is that he has been caught looking at **** on a Publicly funded Laptop, provided for him to undertake legitimate work on behalf of the Council and the public that he represents. This, does not include looking at ****! The assumption must also be that he's not simply 'looking' at **** on our time and money! How many 'final' warnings must someone get before they are sacked? This is not my first run-in with Mr Gardner. He has his finger in EVERY Local Pie. It's time he retired and (possibly) masterbated to **** on his own time? Are we to find out what sort of **** it was? I guess not! Yan Tan
  • Score: 1

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