Suspended councillor reinstated after public apology to town clerk

Opening of new Community centre in Hemsworth ann the Sandygate Football facilities'Frank Wootton, Ann Westmoorland, Tony Upson, Tina Pattinson, Robert McIntyre
Opening of new Community centre in Hemsworth ann the Sandygate Football facilities'Frank Wootton, Ann Westmoorland, Tony Upson, Tina Pattinson, Robert McIntyre

A HEMSWORTH councillor who was suspended for ‘inappropriate and immature’ comments towards the town clerk has been reinstated after making a public apology.

Coun John Richardson, an independent on Hemsworth Town Council, told Tina Pattison to ‘keep her mouth shut’ after being asked to stick to the agenda at a meeting in March 2010.

He was reported to the standards committee and suspended at a sub-committee hearing on Thursday, March 17 2011.

He was told he would not be able to attend any further meetings as a councillor until he made a public apology to Mrs Pattison and the town council and underwent training or his term of office expired.

Coun Richardson was reinstated after fulfilling all the requirements and was allowed to attend the full town council meeting on Tuesday, March 29.

His letter, which was read out at the meeting, stated: “Please allow me to apologise with regards to a meeting on March 13, 2010.

“My behaviour was extremely inappropriate, immature and lacked respect.

“It disrupted the meeting and stopped others carrying out their duties. I will curb my actions and my behaviour.

“I am sorry for my actions and wish to put them behind us.”

Coun Richardson made the comments last year after Mrs Pattison told him an agenda item to confirm the minutes of previous meetings was not an opportunity to discuss any decisions that had already been made.

Coun Richardson had wanted to have his say about section 106 money given to Wakefield Council by David Wilson Homes after it built a housing development on the former Hemsworth Arts and Community College site.

He had also claimed that the town councillors were acting illegally by breaking an unsigned Section 106 agreement with regards to the sale of Hemsworth Sports Complex on Kirkby Road.

Under Standing Order 34 of the council’s rules and regulations no discussion should take place upon the minutes except about their accuracy.

He told Mrs Pattison: “Would you just do your job and keep your mouth shut?

“You are acting out of order all the time.”

He refused to apologise at the time, despite being asked to by chairman Coun Graham West and only agreed to retract the statement.

At last month’s meeting Coun Ray Warren applauded Coun Richardson for his apology.

He said: “That was a very gracious offer and I appreciate it.

“I think other councillors should take a leaf out of Coun Richardson’s book.”

But Mrs Pattison questioned why the apology had only been made a year after the initial comments.

She said: “I want to know why it took 12 months to apologise. That is appalling in my book.”