Councillors’ spat with clerk resolved

Helping - Cllr Chris Devine

Helping - Cllr Chris Devine

First published in News

PARISH councillors who walked out en masse after a row with their clerk – putting the future of their authority at risk – have walked back in again.

Five of Firsdown’s seven parish councillors left this week, with four citing differences over procedures as their reason for resigning.

But now Melanie Bishop, Brian Edgeley, Helen Edgeley and Paul Hewitt are back.

A fifth councillor, Mike Villis, has resigned due to personal issues.

Firsdown Parish Council looked in danger of folding after the spat between councillors, including the chairman and vice-chairman, and the clerk Melanie Thomas.

The mass walk-out could have forced a by-election as the two remaining members would not have been able to co-opt in new members.

Brian Edgeley, vice-chairman, accused Mrs Thomas of having an “inflexible approach”.

“I was unable to work with the clerk of the parish council,” Mr Edgeley said.

“We are here to serve the parishioners and she is only interested in procedure.”

Mrs Thomas has been Firsdown Parish Clerk for the last nine years.

She told the Journal she was unable to comment on the councillors’ claims.

Wiltshire Council member Chris Devine, who offered his support in solving the issue, said: “Wiltshire Council never actioned the resignations from the councillors.

“Before the council could action them they contacted us saying they wished to withdraw their resignations.”

The next meeting of Firsdown parish council is Wednesday, September 3 at 7.15pm.

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