Election will see ‘bitterly unhappy’ town get new mayor
PUBLISHED: 09:47 20 July 2020 | UPDATED: 09:47 20 July 2020
Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2016
A council left in disarray following a tumultuous year of disputes and in-fighting is set to elect a new leadership duo.
Members of Attleborough Town Council (ATC) will decide on a new mayor and deputy mayor at an extraordinary full council meeting this Monday (July 20) afternoon, starting at 5.30pm.
The vote, which should have taken place in May but was delayed amid the coronavirus pandemic, will see the premiership of current mayor Tony Crouch come to an end, while Ed Tyrer will no longer be deputy mayor.
The newly-elected pair will also become the town council’s chairman and vice-chairman.
A resolution to hold mayoral elections was passed by ATC on Monday (July 13), when members participated in a rescheduled virtual meeting after Mr Crouch controversially called off an original meeting on July 6 - just two minutes before it was due to begin.
The move left 39 residents and Breckland Council leader Sam Chapman-Allen waiting online for 15 minutes, oblivious to the fact proceedings had been postponed.
Mr Crouch pinned his actions on an “unclear” agenda item to discuss mayoral elections, stating he believed he was following advice from the council’s solicitor.
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It later transpired the guidance was incorrect and had not originated from the solicitor.
Eight councillors subsequently released a statement calling for the mayor to resign, labelling the meeting’s cancellation “unlawful” and issuing an apology to Attleborough residents.
The group added it was “not the first time individuals and/or the council” had behaved in ways that were “extremely questionable and undermine public trust.”
Faith in ATC has largely crumbled in recent months following a heated row which saw Mr Tyrer and fellow member Taila Taylor accused of “harassment, bullying and intimidation” towards council staff.
As debate over elections erupted at Monday’s meeting, councillor Bill Loades said: “We are skirting round the fundamental issue - a decision about whether we continue with the same mayor and deputy mayor given the town is bitterly unhappy with aspects of our current organisation.
“There is a major principle of democracy and honesty at stake here.”
Councillors voted 13-2 in favour of an election.
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