Conservative councillor rapped for social media comments on Fife wedding venue
Tony Miklinski, who represents the Cupar ward in North-East Fife, "failed to treat two members of the public with courtesy and respect," according to the Standards Commission for Scotland.
A hearing panel convened by the commission was told that Cllr Miklinski had given advice to a local residents group over the use of Carphin House, in Luthrie, as a wedding venue.
In giving that advice, the panel found, the councillor had made "unfounded and serious allegations" about the owners of the country house on the residents' group's Facebook page.
Furthermore, the Cupar representative was found to have supplied "incorrect and unverified information" to a wedding guest via email that had the potential to damage Carphin House's business.
Ultimately, the panel concluded that Cllr Miklinski had failed to treat the owners of the country house with courtesy and respect, in breach of the Councillors' Code of Conduct, and had engaged in behaviour that amounted to harassment.
Mike McCormick, chair of the hearing panel, said: “The requirement for councillors to behave in a respectful manner towards members of the public is an important part of the Code, as a failure to do so can undermine public confidence in the role of a councillor and in the Council itself.
"The Standards Commission considers that councillors should be able to assist their constituents and conduct themselves in a constructive, respectful and, courteous manner without resorting to being offensive or providing misleading information.
"In this case, the Respondent had failed to conduct himself in an appropriate manner.”
Ian Macallan, co-owner of Carphin House, has welcomed the decision.
"This has obviously been quite a challenging journey for us, and whilst the decision doesn’t change the difficulties we have faced, we are pleased with the outcome and are grateful to the Ethical Standards Commissioner for all of their time and hard work," he said.
A full report on the decision is expected to be published within 14 days.
Cllr Miklinski has been contacted for comment.