A CONSULTANT officer has resigned from his position within Shaftesbury Town Council (STC), addressing the “behaviour” of members in his exit statement.

Heard during the full council meeting Tuesday night, it was announced that John Furze would be released from his employment from September 30, and his reasons for resignation were met with backlash from councillors, resulting in exclusion.

In a letter to town clerk Claire Commons, made public through STC, Mr Furze claimed Councillors Karen Tippins and Peter Yeo would not engage with him regarding their concerns of the council.

It added: “Until [Cllrs Yeo and Tippins] improve their knowledge of council procedures and their individual behaviour I feel the present situation will continue.

“As I look back through the preceding months I am unable to show any positive effect their behaviour has had for those who elected them. In fact more the opposite is true when the cost of their spurious accusations and needless erroneous assertions is calculated.”

In response to the letter and Mr Furze’s withdrawal, Cllr Tippins said that the former consultant officer had no mediation qualifications, no experience of mediation between councillors and no “good” references, and asked the clerk if she was receiving gifts from the Local Government Resource Centre (LGRC).

The clerk, who is also the body’s legal advisor, described the suggestion of receiving gifts as “an abhorrent allegation”, adding that Mr Furze does not work for LGRC.

Cllr Chase described Cllr Tippins’ question as an “allegation and fraud”, asking her to either apologise for her statement or leave the meeting.

In response, Cllr Tippins said to Cllr Chase: “You’re very arrogant, the town clerk is supposed to be objective, you can’t remove councillors from full council. I did not make an allegation I asked a question.”

Cllr Tippins added that she is liaising with a barrister about how the town council is currently operated.

“Mrs Commons has been written to by a solicitor, she has been warned, it has now gone to a Queen’s Counsel, you’re getting into very dangerous waters,” she added, in response to threats of exclusion.

Cllr Tippins was however then removed from the Zoom meeting, as Cllr Chase said “this is not acceptable”.

After a back and fourth between Cllrs Chase and Yeo, who was later removed from the meeting, the item ended with Cllr Yeo describing Mr Furze as “a waste of money [and] waste of time”.