To : Cllr A Rushforth , Maltby Town Council, Rotherham
I am writing to take issue with you over the comments that you have made and are quoted in The Star, Tuesday August 19th 2008
I quote “Town Councillor Amy Rushforth ….who was not at the meeting when Mr Morton was suspended said “This confirms what I said at the start of this episode that the suspension of the clerk had not been done correctly and there would be repercussions about what they had done” What THEY had done? Who are THEY Cllr Rushforth? Are you not one of THEM yourself?
Firstly, I am concerned that you feel able to comment on events at a meeting that you did not attend. Everyone appreciates your unfortunate personal circumstances of late, but you have not attended any Maltby Town Council meeting now since April and four months is an extremely long time to keep track of the happenings within the council, even when attending and minuting meetings, which many residents are doing recently due to disputes concerning records.
You do not appear to be aware, Cllr Rushforth, of the extreme conflict and disarray that is MTC currently. Minutes have been resolved to be amended and not been, extraordinary meetings have been called, with some councillors not being formally advised (if at all) and members of the public have been seemingly kept in the dark by meetings not advertised widely enough for them to be notified. An Extra-ordinary meeting called for Wednesday August 13th, for example, had one notice posted inside the Edward Dunn building – this for an electorate of around 17,000 to presumably view. The Chair of MTC did not receive a formal notice; one councillor had her invitation thrown onto the driveway of her home, another received hers through the post with less than the required 3 days notice. (at many meetings certain councillors have been abusive to the Chair and other councillors when the 3 days notice issue has been raised !)
I, as a member of the public, was interrogated and verbally harassed by the assistant to the Town Clerk - of which we do not have one formally appointed at the moment but rely on the “volunteered support” of Cllr C McMahon and Cllr J Kirk – about why I was asking for a copy of the notice. There have been a number of occasions when I have been treated in this way by this assistant.
At the risk of repeating myself to those who know of and understand the real situation within MTC, I am informing you that at council meetings The Chair, some Independent Cllrs and the public have been constantly verbally abused by other, supposedly, Independent Cllrs. It is well known who these councillors are (I will certainly name them if you require this) and it is clear to anyone with an ounce of sense (or perhaps that should be a gram for legal purposes) that their intention is to have the names of the “real” Independent councillors dragged through the dirt and ultimately have them either ejected from the council or for them to resign. The whole scenario is totally unacceptable and unfortunately, it now seems that the Legal Department at RMBC are claiming they have no powers to support MTC – they suggest the Standards Board, which as you are well aware has been approached and appears to be either unable to do anything or does not care to do anything.
Concerning the suspension of David Morton, of which you commented. Mr Morton was suspended at a meeting on 18th June. Cllr Ben Slade, taking it as his perogative as Chair to insert an item onto the Agenda. This was explained fully to all present (amidst the now usual appalling behaviour and language from 4 Cllrs in particular) The Town Clerk was well aware of the dissent within the council , he had in fact caused the majority of it. If Mr Morton was so sure that his suspension was “illegal” then why did he wait 2 days and then resign ? Why is he going to a tribunal for constructive dismissal when he himself resigned? Why did he not pursue the “illegal” suspension case first ?
As far as I am aware, it is highly unusual (in fact not good practice) for an auditor to give advice on legal matters such as this or to make suggestions as to a councils actions in these situations. I am awaiting a response from MTC’s auditor on this issue.
Finally, as per The Star report, the public did NOT attend this meeting expecting to debate on the removal of public pay phones (this was on a later Agenda) and they certainly did not expect to talk about buying a new cross for a local church ! Not on the Agenda and not even correct information – the only discussion about a Church Cross currently, is Cllr K Stringers notion that the cross at the former Bede Church be acquired by the MTC – presumably to add to it’s store of other church items “stored” by them.
Many of the public did applaud as Mr Morton left the meeting, followed by his assistant (and certain cllrs of whom I have spoken, abusing the public and the press on their way out of the building.) The applause, however, was for the fact that he was LEAVING and that justice would at last be done. Unfortunately, justice is conspicuous in it’s absence.
MTC’s crucifixion by the media? It appears that this is the aim of some. For those who know the truth and are striving for real openness and honesty, the ex- town clerk is digging a hole deep enough for himself and his followers to fall into and to not reappear, which is possibly the best thing that could happen for Maltby.