MP’s allegations over Seaford Council have no basis

Mr Baker, I have read with concern your allegations regarding Seaford Town Council. You have put forward a list of ten concerns that in your opinion constitutes a council that is dysfunctional and out of control.

I now call upon you to justify those allegations. You attended an all-party public meeting, called by the Town Council on November 15, followed by a further meeting on November 29, which you did not attend, to prevent the closure of the Seaford recycling plant.

As a result of those meetings, a partial success has been achieved. You did not, at that time, express any concerns about Seaford Town Council. In fact you congratulated us. Is this the action of a dysfunctional council? Taking the concerns of residents of which over 10,000 signed a petition organised by the Town Council.

You further state that the council is financially out of control. If you had studied the council’s accounts, you would have discovered a projected overspend of £3,000 on this year’s budget of over one million pounds. Our town’s precept will be £56.64 per D bank, per annum which equates to £4.26. This is significantly lower that the Lib/Dem run councils of Newhaven at £95 per annum and Lewes at £125 per annum, with reserves in keeping with the advice of our auditors. Hardly a budget out of control, in fact a council that is in firm control!

I will now deal with your allegation of bullying. I, as chair, of the personnel committee, have, since May 2011 not received one written allegation of bullying or misconduct. If you have relevant information to the contrary, I challenge you to produce it!

If as you claim to be, as our Member of Parliament having such great concerns. I will ask you these following questions:

Why did you not contact Seaford Town Council to discuss these concerns before going to the press?

As a “concerned” MP why haven’t you offered your considerable experience to assist rather than denigrate the council?

No you haven’t. All you have done is try to promote your own personal political agenda for re-election at the expense of a small council made up of unpaid, well meaning, volunteers.

Now you are calling for the suspension of our Town Clerk. On what grounds do you base this? As we have no official allegations of misconduct, you are demanding that the council acts unlawfully. We are not prepared to take action on spurious and malicious allegations made by a small number of people on the social media upon which you seem to have based your opinions.

Is this not tantamount to your bullying of our Town Clerk? I quote “As a member of the Liberal Democrats, you must treat others with respect and must not bully, harass or intimidate any Party member, member of Party Staff, member of Parliamentary Staff, Party volunteer or member of the public. Such behavior will be considered to be bringing the party into disrepute.” Art. 3.1 (b) Federal Constitution of the Liberal Democrats.

Our Town Clerk is an employee of the council and has no connection with any political party, therefore should be treated as a member of the public!

Following your claims on Radio Sussex, stating the Town Council has failed to take any action in the last week, please note a public meeting was held on Saturday, January 25, to listen to public concerns and that the council has ordered an internal inquiry to address the points raised. Please note this was paid for out of councillors’ pockets and there was no charge to the ratepayers. I therefore ask you to retract your statement made on the radio. I am writing this letter as a councillor and ex-Leader and NOT on behalf of the council.

Ian White, Seaford