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0 votes
I was chair of our parish council, I and one other employed a new clerk, it didn't work out and at the end of her probationary period it was unanimously decide to end her employment, it was decided to use a firm of solicitors to do this as she then started to make a fuss, the solicitor had a lot of contact with our locum clerk and from that the solicitor asked me for copies of all emails between myself and the clerk, she needed this to do a correct recommendation on the way to proceed, I supplied her with what she asked for, obviously this increased the bill, some councillors have requested that I pay a sum of money which is £2,700 claiming  this was the amount for additional work which they say was unauthorised, the council instructed this firm, not myself, then a councillor suggested that if I resign as chair then they would not pursue the money, I think that is blackmail, I did stand down for personal reasons, comments please, incidentally one councillor who was instrumental in this has already asked me to resign five times and has only been on the council since May last year
by (120 points)

2 Answers

0 votes
Need a bit more info to answer this properly

When the PC gave authority to engage the solicitors, was a maximum monetary ceiling given.

Or was it just agreed to utilise them without an actual budget being set.
by (2.2k points)
No limit was set at the time, we were quoted a fee but the locum had to ask for more assistance which then overtook the quoted fee
0 votes
So many questions here!
How did you and one other councillor find yourselves employing the clerk?  Surely it was something for your staffing committee to undertake and in any event should have been authorised by council at the time so why are you now apparently personally liable for costs associated with what should have been an action on behalf of the council?

Why on earth did council feel it appropriate to engage a solicitor to terminate a member of staff's contract at the end of the probation period?  Whilst this should have been a straight forward procedure assuming contracts were written appropriately, I do realise that ACAS guidelines still expect performance reviews etc. during the probation period etc. so if procedures weren't followed, the new staff member could have grounds for claiming unfair dismissal and appropriate legal advice might be necessary.  Notwithstanding that, however, council resolved to engage the solicitor and they can't now claim the cost of doing so back from an individual councillor unless there's more to this than has been explained.  Solicitors cost money and they should have given you an indication of the likely cost and noted when the agreed ceiling had been reached.  Did that happen?

What a mess!
by (17.5k points)
The mess started when due to some very unpleasant parishioners our clerk resigned and as chair I had to deal with replacing her and I’d never done it before and none of us knew what to do, I don’t think we actually had a staffing committee as we’d never needed one, the last ten years had been fine with no problems.
I wasn’t even aware of our local association to advertise for a clerk but we did generally advertise and basically only had one applicant who was already a part time clerk, I did have reservations on how she might cope with some of the more problematic parishioners but we offered her the position, from our first meeting it went downhill, she then put in code of conduct complaints against myself for a whole host of things, these have still not been decided by the monitoring office, she then went off sick due to stress but still worked for the other parish council, whilst she was off sick three councillors kept ringing her which they shouldn’t have done, one councillor had 41 phone calls with her, there was no reason for this.
Unfortunately I feel we have some very two faced councillors and I know two of them wanted to be chair so it was to get rid of me, two years ago we had a very good council but since last May it plummeted and then a United front to get someone to take my place, well good luck to them because they will need to watch their back as well

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