The leader of Rother District Council survived a proposed vote of no confidence over his handling of the transparency saga.
Cllr Carl Maynard (Conservative) was accused of “arrogance” over his reply to Kris Hopkins MP by one Labour councillor, while another called for a vote of no confidence in the Brede Valley representative.
But Cllr Maynard maintained that his comments in the letter had been misinterpreted.
Collington councillor Tony Mansi (Independent) tabled a move for the vote which prompted a smattering of applause and cries of ‘here here’ from the packed public gallery.
Cllr Mansi said: “In light of Rother District Council being admonished not once but twice by Kris Hopkins MP, I move a vote of no confidence in the leader of Rother District Council and I request a recorded vote.”
But Cllr David Vereker, Conservative member for Darwell and Burwash, said:”I do not quite see how we are expected to vote on something with no reasoning at all behind it.”
The vote split the council, with all 21 Tory councillors in attendance voting against and the 11 remaining members backing Cllr Mansi’s motion.
The motion was defeated.
Meanwhile Rye representative Cllr Sam Souster had some strong words for the council leader over his reply to the Minister’s letter, accusing the council leader of “missing the point”.
He said: “I believe he missed the point, I hope not deliberately, for instance he states that the organisation structure and redundancy payments were all in line with the council’s policy, but not on line which the Minister maintains is a legal requirement.
“Further, Cllr Maynard states and I quote “I am hugely disappointed to receive such a letter from DCLG only weeks before the General and District Elections.”
“Again, arrogance – is Cllr Maynard suggesting that the Minister should ignore these serious breaches to aid a Tory council?
“It is not a failure to admit you are wrong, but this council never has, and I have plenty of examples to demonstrate this.
“Finally, I never thought I would be in the position to choose between the integrity of a Tory Government Minister and the Tory Leader of Rother District Council.”
Cllr Maynard argued his comments had been misinterpreted and he was just pointing out that there was a lot of work was going on behind the scenes at the authority in the run up to the election.
During the debate, Cllr Maynard told those gathered at the meeting: “We try and be open and transparent in everything we do.”