A senior politician has called for calm amid an ongoing row over the sacking of the deputy leader of Flintshire Council.
Cllr Bernie Attridge and the leader of the authority, Cllr Aaron Shotton, have become embroiled in a war of words over the last week, with each offering conflicting reasons for his dismissal.
One public gathering has already been held in support of Cllr Attridge at Wetherspoons in Shotton as some residents have become angered by the decision.
Meanwhile, another is due to be held out outside the base of Connah’s Quay Town Council this evening ahead of a meeting which both men could be present at.
However, concerns have now been raised about the growing levels of friction resulting from the fall out between the two long-serving representatives of the Connah’s Quay Central ward.
Cllr Carolyn Thomas, cabinet member for streetscene and countryside, has made an impassioned plea for people to treat both of her Labour colleagues with kindness.
She also warned that public displays of resentment were in danger of stopping the county council from functioning.
Responding to a post publicising the latest protest on Facebook, Cllr Thomas said: “I am extremely worried about the further hatred and aminosity that is being stirred up. Bernie is still your excellent councillor.
“He was also a brilliant deputy leader and cabinet member of the council, great at spotting details and keeping us in order. He is still deputy leader of our group.
“Aaron is a fantastic leader of the council, I do not think there is another councillor who can do the job as well as him.
“They worked together as an excellent pair and it is dreadful it has come to this hateful, public display of destroying two lives.
“It could cause a split and bring down the council which stops it functioning properly.”
The majority of the Labour group of county councillors this week voted to accept Cllr Shotton’s reasons for removing his number two after he accused him of a ‘significant breach of confidence’.
The former cabinet member for housing denied those claims and instead linked his departure to him speaking up on behalf of a female member of council staff, who lost her job following an alleged affair with the council leader.
Cllr Shotton, who is the subject of an ongoing Ombudsman’s investigation into his conduct, has rejected the suggestion and a statement issued by the authority confirmed it was not one of the grounds put forward.
Cllr Thomas added that the pressures of running the council were already considerable without the public backlash surrounding the situation.
She said: “The leader appoints the cabinet, they could no longer work together.
“It is tough running the council with all the cuts and high expectations.
“I understand your concern for Bernie but please be kinder and don’t attack in defence.”
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).