Town Clerk ‘forced to quit’ – Union will back his legal action against council
The Sheffield Star – Wednesday June 25th 2008
“A Town Clerk suspended from his job in South Yorkshire is to take legal action. David Morton was forced to leave a meeting of Maltby Town Council after eight of the 12 members voted for his suspension and he subsequently resigned. The move comes after months of bitter infighting between rival factions on the council and after it carried out an investigation into Mr Morton’s conduct.
The authority has not exactly said why Mr Morton’s behaviour was being investigated or why he was finally suspended – and he is now refusing to comment – but it is believed he became caught up in internal wranglings. Today it was revealed his case has been taken up by Unison and with the help of the union’s solicitors he is expected to submit a claim for unfair dismissal. Robin Symonds, Unison regional officer said: ‘Mr Morton has resigned his position as clerk and financial officer to Maltby Town Council due to intolerable behaviour towards him by certain members of the council. He has been treated abominably and could not be expected to work under such conditions. Through Unison’s legal services Mr Morton has received legal advice from solicitors and they will now lodge a constructive dismissal claim on his behalf with the employment tribunal. The tribunal will then consider the circumstances of the case, which led to Mr Morton’s resignation and will in due course reach a final decision based on the facts.’
Mr Morton who has been clerk since Maltby Town Council was set up eight years ago, was due to attend a disciplinary hearing called by the council at the weekend, but it was cancelled after it was told he had resigned.
Amy Rushworth, also a member of Rotherham Council and daughter of Rother Valley MP Kevin Barron, said she was extremely unhappy with the way the council was being run and would refer the matter to the national Standards Board and Yorkshire Local Councils Association. She said: ‘It appears what happened was undemocratic because the proposal to suspend David Morton was not on the agenda and appears to have been acted on by a small group of councillors who seem to have hijacked the council.”
Sounds familiar – decisions being made on matters which aren’t on the agenda!