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Six Charmouth councillors resign over job controversy
CHARMOUTH villagers are in ‘uproar’ after the parish council was torn apart with the resignation of six councillors.
Councillors Jane Morrow, Mike Hendrick, Andy Peters, Karen Aldworth, Mark Osborne and Richard Wyatt have handed in their notice.
Their resignations came after the appointment of Paul Sayers as the council’s works manager.
Mr Sayers is the son-in-law of Charmouth Parish Council chairman Mallory Hayter although there is no suggestion that any rules have been broken regarding the appointment.
Charmouth Parish Council’s monthly meeting due to be held last night was called off yesterday because there were not enough members present to proceed.
The council, which has 11 seats, requires at least a third of members to hold a meeting.
The six councillors have released a statement confirming their resignation and the reason behind their actions.
It said: “Six Charmouth parish councillors resigned last week over issues with the appointment of a works manager. The full council meeting last night was expected to be packed with villagers asking many questions of the chairman.
“Further comments will be made in due course.”
Council chairman Mallory Hayter was unavailable for comment this week.
Parish clerk Lisa Tuck refused to comment about the job appointment or the resignations of the councillors.
She said a re-arranged date for the postponed council meeting would be announced later.
Villager Catherine Marchbank, who is also a former vice-chairman of the parish council 20 years ago, said: “I would say 99 per cent of the population are in absolute uproar about it.
"I used to be on the council myself. I’m a former vice-chairman, so I know a little bit about how things should be put together.
“We are all absolutely furious.
“The fact that six councillors resigned is indicative of the feeling of the way things were handled.
“There is certainly something to answer here.
“This has been rumbling on for a while but it all kicked off a few weeks ago.”
The Dorset Association of Parish and Town Councils (DAPTC) said it is advising Charmouth Parish Council on the matter but could not comment further.
Police are investigating after a banner with ‘malicious’ wording was hung across railings at the front of parish council offices at The Elms.
The banner, which was written in marker pen on a white shower curtain, was put up overnight on Wednesday, March 6.
Parish clerk Lisa Tuck said: “The situation with the banner is in the hands of the police.”
Witnesses and anyone with information are asked to contact Dorset Police on 101.
- CHARMOUTH’S Annual Parish Meeting is to be held on Tuesday, March 26 at 7.30pm at The Elms.
Charmouth Primary School headteacher Gillian Morris and representatives of the Community Hall have been invited to speak at the meeting.