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Friday, 18 April 2014

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Tribunal hears of campaign by parish councillors to get rid of clerk

A CAMPAIGN by parish councillors to get rid of their clerk left her with no option other than to resign, she told an employment tribunal yesterday.

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DISMISSED: Jill Hunter, who claimed she had been unfairly removed

Jill Hunter told the tribunal, held in Carlisle, that she had been subjected to bullying and harassment by Brian Beck and Brian Lancaster, of the then Broughton Community Council, prior to her resignation in April.

Mrs Hunter, who had been the council’s executive and financial officer for three years, is claiming constructive dismissal and breach of contract against the council, now called Broughton Parish Council.

Speaking on the opening day of the tribunal yesterday, she said: “The actions taken against me and the treatment I received resulted in my resignation.”

Representing herself, she said the aim of bringing the case to the tribunal was to prove that she was correct, as well as seeking compensation.

She said she felt councillors Beck and Lancaster were trying to get rid of her and replace her with former parish clerk Peter Wilson.

In an 18-page statement, she described several incidents between her and the councillors, including allegations that she ignored or failed to respond to letters, signed a cheque without authorisation and was bullied and harassed in meetings. She said Coun Lancaster told her to be quiet and refused her the opportunity to advise councillors during meetings.

This, she claimed, led to a meeting being abandoned and other councillors deciding they could not hold further meetings.

Then, she said, councillors Beck and Lancaster complained about the lack of meetings and blamed Mrs Hunter for none being held.

She added: “I have been told in the past by Coun Lancaster not to talk or interrupt him. I have also been told by Coun Beck that I should be quiet because I was only at meetings merely to take minutes.”

She said cheques made out outside of council meetings related to contractual payments which could have affected services if not paid and they were always authorised by the chairman and vice-chairman.

The tribunal, expected to finish this afternoon, continues.

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