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0 votes
We recently employed a new clerk, I find that we are not getting on, she is rude and curt to me yet she has put in a code of conduct complaint against me, last week she sent out an email to 11 people saying that I lied to her, I’ve bullied her, I’ve stalked her and gaslighted her, this has been sent out, I think she has slandered me and has damaged my good standing, can I have an opinion please
by (460 points)

5 Answers

0 votes
Its impossible to say who is right and who is wrong here.

Except ...

If your clerk has a grievance they are entitled to express through your grievance procedure - do you have one and has it been used.

My understanding of "gas lighting" (which I have personally been subjected to) it occurs over an extended period of time.  I'm not sure how things can have gone so wrong in such a short space of time,

In any event, the issues need to be dealt with through the usual employment procedures.
by (10.1k points)
She has been with us about two months, we do have a grievance procedure but she went straight to the monitoring officer, the first complaint they said it wasn’t for them so she then put in a code of conduct complaint alleging many things, one of her gripes is that the pension we have is different to what she wanted but this only came out after she agreed to take the job, the one she wanted would cost us 12% more than was agreed
I presume she's still on probation so suggest both parties admit this isn't working and part company.
On the subject of pensions, it is for the employer to determine what, if any, pension provision they offer, within the legal framework. Many clerks of small councils fall below the automatic enrolment earnings threshold.
She is on a 26 week probationary period, I find her confrontational, she works at a smaller parish part time as well, I did visit them when they had a planning meeting, I found them very laid back compared to ours and I think she more or less run things, I've asked her to do certain things and one response was "who are we", my emails when asking something were ignored, she put in an agenda item that there had been financial irregularities but wouldn't say what they were, three members of the public criticised her over that for which she  was asked to apologize, I have worked with our previous clerk for almost four years and never a cross word, we had a locum for two months and we got on fine, I did ask if we could go over the agenda before it was published  especially as she was new which she refused so a couple of things were on it which should not have been
I agree that life is easier when we work together and I'm not having a go at clerks because I think it's bloody hard job to do (I was actin clerk when we didn't have one and I was pretty useless at it, we only had one applicant and I think our desperation got the better of us) The final straw was when she accused me of lying to her, stalking her (she flatters herself on that) bullying and I think a couple of other things, she says that some spending when we without a clerk was unauthorised but all payments were made with either two or three other signatures, either the Finance Chairman or the Vice Chairman, one purchase was for a replacement battery for a defibrillator as it had gone faulty, there are other examples.
To determine whether any of the the payments were correctly authorised would need to see your adopted policies in terms of Financial Regulations & Authority to Spend (sometimes referred to Scheme of Delegation). The signatories authorising payments alone would not neccesarilly mean they were correctly authorised by the council. Were the payments approved at a meeting of council? or were they authorised through an adopted scheme of delegation?. If the payments were made using delegated authority were said payments & documentation shared at next meeting of council?
Most of them were but in our financial rules we have that we can spend up to £500 if thought urgent with approval from the chair and clerk, the one she questioned was to replace some dangerous fencing around a play area for £320, I thought it could be dangerous to young children so I received a quote from a local company that we've used several times before and I suggested that we got it repaired, that's when the Who are the we, if a child had cut itself badly then we would have been liable
0 votes
Impossible to make a meaningful assessment of whose right or wrong in these cases. That been said these are very serious allegations made by the clerk indeed Monitoring Officer may well have to pause their own investigations as potentially requires a refferal to the police. Am not really clear how a proffesional relationship could breakdown in just two months resulting in a new member of staff making serious allegations of stalking, gaslighting, bullying & lying. You now need to cooperate with your principal authorities investigation as required & don't do anything stupid in interim (that could be construed/twisted in a way that could help substantiate allegations). Written & Verbal communication should be limited with Clerk with extra care taken to make sure nothing could be misconstrued.
by (8.5k points)
All we want to do is work and cooperate together, I know that she is responsible for producing the agenda, she also wants to alter all our terms of reference, I don't know how other councils work but we have always had the chair and vice chair automatically appointed to all committees unless they really didn't want to sit on it, she wants to change all that, I must admit that I am suspicious of her wanting me off the staffing committee
Auto-enrolment (sometimes termed Ex-Oficio) is something personally moved away from though it is a entirely matter for Council to determine at a local level. That been said don't particularly like committees at this level. It seems some have ended up with committees discussing committees and resemble frankly pointless talking shops. I certainly don't miss the endless committees that use to be at best eractic in terms of decision making (or lack of often just defer defer defer). I don't believe its appropriate for a Council Chair to sit on a Personel/Staffing Committee in a large council as a general rule (appreciate sometimes local circumstances dictate a different approach).
You say "we" that implies other members share your concerns. If a majority exists perhaps its best during the probation period to seriously think about parting company.
I would not consider ourselves a big council, we are a rural council and our precept is just over £61,000, we have been fortunate to receive some cil money, when I first joined we had very little in reserve, this has improved greatly over four years so we did not ask for an increase in precept for this year, I trust it's ok to say what our precept is, we don't really defer, I know at least two others share that but we have two new members with at least one wanting to be chair, she was chair for ten years until she resigned over four years ago, quite honestly I didn't think she was a good chair having attended some meetings, she hardly ever asked a councillor for their opinion,  it was what I say goes, makes me wonder why I joined now, we had a good parish council for four years but our chair got hounded out after six code of conduct complaints, he was cleared of all but it does get to one after a while
0 votes
It doesn't sound like a harmonious working relationship, that's for sure. I've picked up on a couple of points:

1) The pension thing is easily rectified if you have proper records, so that should be a non-issue.
2) If the other council are happy with her work and they all get along, you might need to reflect on why that is.It's perfectly possible that you just have a basic personality clash, which needs to be managed profesionally on both sides.
3) As you know, you are her employer, so you both need to be following your greivance procedure, or you could and up with her claiming constructive dismissal.
4) Leave your misogyny at the door with your 'she's flattering herself' comments. Completley unacceptable remark when referring to a collegue. I'd be up in front of HR at my job if I made a remark like that.
5) I'd suggest mediation with someone impartial. There's your side, her side and the truth, which in my experience, lies somewhere in the middle. If you can't resolve this, you can of course end her probation with proper notice, but I'd be caautious about doing that too soon.
by (990 points)
She was sent a contract which she said to me that two things were incorrect, her first name and the pension scheme so was it ok to change it, I should have queried that more but wanting to get on I said ok, she altered the page on pensions but because of the way it was sent it did not action it so when she returned the contract signed the page about pensions was not included, she now blames for tht for not checking it properly, she sent out another contract to someone else and cc me in but because she had altered a 8 page contract it had now gone to 14 page contract with several blank pages, when she finally realised all this she managed to send an unsigned contract edited to the way she wanted, it said that our Parish Council was in a certain scheme, but we were not, the local government scheme she has put in will only take contributions at 12% higher than we agreed, the only signed contract that she has is the one with a page missing, she has acknowledged this but still blaming me
+1 vote
Keep a written record,  record any conversations & meetings  and stand your ground., politely.  Ive been through some thing similar on a council scared of the Clerk, Chair & Vice . I had to involve the police to get the MO to act , the clerk appeared untouchable and thankfully they all resigned together.  The council is a much happier place now although it's not over yet. Maybe suggest your council adopt the Civilty and Respect pledge, ours still wont but it's being driven now by the MO so they cant resist much longer. Dont allow a bully to drive you out . Good Luck.
by (1.1k points)
+1 vote
Bin it at the end of the probation period - mutually incompatible
Keeping it will be an investment in hassle in the future
If you think it’s bad now, wait til the probation has finished and then wait again for the 2 year point
If it walks like a duck, squawks like a duck it’s most likely a duck
by (21.1k points)
The latest is that the clerk has refused to come to tonight's meeting because she says she fears for her safety, there will be about 25 to 30 people there, she nominated a clerk to stand in for her who she knows, I did not agree immediately and this morning she rang me (first time for weeks) in a very aggressive manner, I said that i was looking in to get a clerk and she replied well if you haven't got one I'm cancelling the meeting, I can do that then she hung up
You don't need a clerk for the meeting to go ahead.

If you have an accurate record of what you have written above that should be enough for a pretty swift and painless dismissal.

Is there a contract which states "attend all PC meetings" or something similar?
Mag to grid....
Thanks for that, I’ve just looked on job description and yes it says that the clerk is required to come to the meetings
On what realistic basis does one "fear for their safety?"

In a public venue with male and female attendees...  Is there any history of axe wielding maniacal psychopaths in attendance?

Perhaps it is simply the 'discomfort' of being required to attend a public meeting where one might face real time challenge from public or Cllr questions?

If that is the case then the employer would have a duty of care not to expose the incumbent to the hazards of a council meeting and, acting in the best interest of the employee, facilitate their departure from current employment.

If there is no definable "risk" of harm then it must be interpreted as [at best] temperamental unsuitability or [at worst] delusions of adequacy - either way, treat this one with kid gloves and all you'll achieve is a protracted period of deterioration to the detriment of all affected.
Yes there will be at least 20 people there, she received complaints at the last meeting of not doing things correctly, she tarnished the whole PC by saying that there were financial irregularities but wouldn’t say what they were and had to apologise for that, not a penny has been spent without approval, cheques have to be signed by at least two people ,she’s complained about the unauthorised purchase of a battery for a defibrillator which was about £200, had it not been purchased then someone could have died, the list goes on,

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