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At the bottom of the Wells

Who knows where all the bodies are buried?

After minutes of what could best be described as a surprising extraordinary meeting of the Wells City Council Staffing Committee were published last week, many local people are asking questions. First though I think the City Council deserve praise for publishing the minutes of the meeting which took place on the 18th April, so promptly. Many councils would not have done so.

Nevertheless questions are bound to be asked. Firstly the fact that the Town Clerk seems to have vanished from the radar. There is no explanation on the City Council website and emails to her come back with “I am out of the office and unable to deal with you message.”

Any sense of mystery was not helped by the fact that the entire substance of the meeting on the 18th April was conducted in camera.

We know only two things. Firstly that “Two confidential matters involving staff had been discussed by members and the record of decisions made will be held in the RFO’s safe in a sealed envelope, only to be opened by the Chairman of the Staffing Committee.”

And secondly that the Chair of the Committee, Councillor Gordon Wilson immediately resigned from it. Holding a meeting in camera is often used by councils when discussing staff matters and it is not hard to see why that should be done. However when a matter is sufficient to, apparently, cause the Chair of a Committee to resign just days before an election (Wells City Council seats are all up for election on 2nd May) one has to wonder if secrecy serves the public interest.

Subsequently one matter at least has been clarified. The Responsible Finance Office (RFO) Steve Luck is now working as Acting Town Clerk. He explained to The Leveller that the current clerk is on extended sick leave for at least 3 months under a sick note from her GP. We wish her a speedy recovery.

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