Doncaster parish councillors reprimanded after trying to sack council clerk without means to do so

A group of Doncaster parish councillors have been reprimanded after they tried to sack the council clerk without the means to do so.

Tuesday, 29th January 2019, 4:44 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th January 2019, 4:48 pm

Hatfield Town Council members Bill Morrison, Jessie Credland and Mick Glynn were placed under investigation by Doncaster Council following a formal complaint from clerk Clare McRoy.

The three councillors appeared before Doncaster Council’s Audit Hearings Sub-Committee and the panel found they had failed to comply with obligations one and two of the Hatfield Town Council code of conduct.

Coun Morrison also was found to have breached obligation five after passing on confidential information in an email. 

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They have been requested to write an apology to Mrs McRoy. 

The investigation said the actions amounted to bullying. 

Mrs McRoy said she was handed a letter on June 11 last year stating the three members had ‘become aware of serious issues i.e. financial irregularities and other issues’.

The letter went on to give ‘one month’s notice’ along with the ‘termination of employment’ and for Mrs McRoy to be ‘put on gardening leave’.

The report said there were a ‘number of concerns and tensions’ raised by the three councillors regarding the clerk’s ‘abilities and conduct ‘going back a number of years.

In submissions, the councillors claimed it was ‘done out of frustration’, partly due to the clerk ‘not setting up meetings when asked to do so’.

The allegations set out in the June letter were considered at an extraordinary meeting of Hatfield Town Council in July and were subsequently dismissed.

The three councillors admitted they did not follow correct procedure and sent the letter without the knowledge of the rest of the council.

But despite being repeatedly requested to do so, the three councillors have declined to apologise to the clerk at the time of the investigation. 

“I conclude as a result of the investigation that councillors Glynn, Credland and Morrison did breach the code in that they have not behaved in such a way that a reasonable person would regard as respectful and they have acted in a way which a reasonable person would regard as bullying or intimidatory.”

A statement on behalf of the three councillors read: “As councillors, we share collective responsibility for the financial management of the council. 

“Our role is to ensure that the Responsible Finance Officer acts properly so the council avoids the risk of loss,fraud or bad debt whether through deliberate or careless actions.

“Robust financial checks are of great explained in the rules for dealing with public money. If the Clerk who is also the RSO had been more amenable and open with the accounts this situation would never have arisen.”