Strife in Staffordshire

The Uttoxeter Advertiser today reported on a leaked email that revealed the level of squabbling and in-fighting at Uttoxeter Town Council.


In the email town clerk Barry Holland said that he felt a full council meeting two weeks ago represented the ‘death of democracy’ at the authority, with “certain members of bullying other councillors, ignoring legal advice and making rash decisions.”


He continued:


"The fact that councillors are making decisions without thought, consideration of their actions and generally ignoring both legal and other advice leaves me in total disbelief of what is actually going on."


Uttoexter The back-biting relates to the sale of some council land, an action that the Audit Commission warned could be illegal due to various factors.


This playground politics is a sorry state of affairs for the taxpayers of the Staffordshire town, who must also be alarmed to hear that the council is so short of funds that the sale of the land has been halted because of the £30,000 cost of completing the process.


If the clerk’s concerns about this ailing council are to be believed, the behaviour of elected members at this council may well account for its poor financial record.


Councillors – no matter how small the authority – should never lose sight of just who they are representing, and regardless of circumstances, they are obliged to carry out their public duties in a professional manner. This descent into chaos is both disappointing and disturbing, and what is more, it undermines the democratic process and jeopardises the interests of local residents.


This news must have shaken the faith that the people of Uttoxeter have in their town council, and local taxpayers would be best advised to use the ballot box to punish those councillors who can be identified as the main protagonists in this worrying tale of misconduct.


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