The Vale of Glamorgan Council has issued today what’s called a “casual vacancy” notice for the vacant seat on the council created by the resignation of disgraced former councillor Rob Curtis.
Former councillor Curtis had represented the Gibbonsdown Ward of Barry for the Labour Party until the end of last month when he resigned in the wake of being suspended by the Adjudication Panel for Wales for bringing the council into disrepute .
It now falls to any two electors (i.e. members of the public who are entitled to vote in any ward, anywhere, in the Vale of Glamorgan) to call for a by-election in Gibbonsdown. If they do so, the Vale Council is obliged, under the law, to hold a by-election.
Former councillor Rob Curtis was once a £30,000 a year member of the then seven-strong ruling ‘cabinet’ of the Vale of Glamorgan Council and was an NHS hospital electrician by profession.
In 2015 he pleaded guilty at Haverfordwest Magistrates Court to common assault on a 17-year-old girl whilst on a birdwatching expedition on the island of Skomer off the Pembrokeshire coast in 2014 . An initial charge of sexual assault had been dropped and the propsection had offered him the lesser charge of common assault. Curtis said after the trial “I have never denied that I placed my hand on this person’s leg, but I have consistently denied any sexual motive ”
Despite his conviction (he was given a two-year conditional discharge and had to pay costs) Curtis retained his salaried seat on the Vale of Glamorgan Council and the Barry Town Council – although he had in February 2015 stood down as a member of the Vale ‘cabinet’ citing “pressure of work” before it became known he was facing a trial .
In July this year the Adjudication Panel for Wales suspended Curtis from sitting on the Vale of Glamorgan Council for a period of three months for “bringing the council into disrepute” – but a few days later Cllr Curtis resigned from his seat on the Vale Council and from his unpaid seat on Barry Town Council.