Friday, 20 July 2018

Chairman denies bullying claim

THE chairman of Peppard Parish Council has denied “bullying” a colleague.

THE chairman of Peppard Parish Council has denied “bullying” a colleague.

Barry Wood clashed with Veronica Treacher at a council meeting last week over the reasons she had missed the last meeting on April 13.

Councillor Treacher, of Shiplake Bottom, Peppard, said she was unhappy with the minutes of that meeting which said her reason for missing it in order to prepare for the elections on May 7 was inadequate.

She was the Labour candidate for the Woodcote and Rotherfield ward on South Oxfordshire District Council but was unsuccessful.

She was also the agent for Sam Juthani, who stood for Labour in the Henley parliamentary constituency election but was easily beaten by sitting Conservative MP John Howell.

Cllr Treacher said she had sent her apologies for missing the meeting by email and received a response from parish clerk Linda Collison, so she was “not pleased” when she read the minutes.

She continued: “I had correspondence from the chair about my absence which I am also not pleased about.”

Cllr Treacher handed out copies of an email sent on April 14 in which Councillor Wood called her “irresponsible” because her apologies were given a “mere 30 minutes” before the meeting.

He had also asked her to apologise to her fellow councillors and residents of the parish.

Cllr Wood wrote: “When a person pledges to be a councillor, that person should have a sense of duty to support his or her colleagues under most circumstances, including attendance.

“What would happen if we had all pleaded to other pressures last night?”

Cllr Treacher said: “When my character is being questioned for being irresponsible, I do not take that well. It is not just offensive, it is bullying. I would like to have that minuted.”

Cllr Wood said she had “every opportunity” to send her apologies and reiterated that she should  apologise.

“It’s not bullying, haranguing or anything else,” he said. “Tonight, two councillors could not attend but they gave notice some time ago.

“Yes, people have responsibilities to others but I do not believe on this occasion you gave notice early enough. I am sure you could have turned up for two or three hours.

“It would have done you good as a candidate if had turned up.”

Cllr Treacher responded: “I was leading a campaign, was agent for the parliamentary candidate and looking after 19 potential district councillors.

“I was hoping to attend that meeting but I emailed and there was no problem.

“I was doing my democratic duty to this parish on issues relating to this council.”

Cllr Wood repeated that he had not bullied her and said he did not wish to continue the conversation during the meeting.

Cllr Wood is a former mayor of Henley, where he represented Henley Residients’ Group.

He became a member of Peppard Parish Council four months after he and his wife Jeni moved to Stoke Row Road in June last year. He became chairman in February.

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