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MP Norman Baker calls in auditors to 'dysfunctional and out of control' council
12:34pm Monday 20th January 2014 in News
MP Norman Baker has called in the auditors to investigate Seaford Town Council after sensational allegations of bullying, incompetence, infighting, out-of-control spending and secrecy.
This followed the resignation of mayor Anthony White, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, following a disagreement with town council leader Ian White (no relation).
Councillor Rita Scarfe also stood down from her post at the weekend shortly after the meeting last Thursday.
Former town councillor Andrew Hamilton, who resigned from his post two years ago, described councillors as “no more than puppets being told what to do”.
In a press release announcing his decision to write to the District Auditor, several policitions are quoted in support of his move.
It included support from Seaford’s Lib Dem county councillor Carolyn Lambert, who said the council “does not appear to want to operate openly and democratically”.
Town councillor Sarah McStravick also said she was also concerned a £400,000 grant for Seaford Museum was at risk of being lost because the council failed to act on an expired lease.
Mr Baker described Seaford Town Council as “dysfunctional and out of control”.
He said: “I owe it my constituents in what is the biggest town in my constituency to take action. That’s why I have written to the independent District Auditor to ask for an urgent investigation.”
Councillor Ian White said: “It’s not right to comment. All decisions made are made by the controlling group. It’s democracy.”
In a Seaford council statement councillors Paul Franklin and Barry Burfield said they are seeking clarity from Mr Baker on whether his statement “has basis in, and is evidenced in fact, or whether his statement is one of personal opinion”.
They stated the lease of the museum was redrafted last year by a former officer of the council and returned to the council solicitor and the Martello tenant.
“The lead members for the council have reviewed the circumstances for the delay in finalising and signing the lease, and are satisfied that under the circumstances the lease negations are now being expedited within the constraints of legal process,” they added.
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