Council official 'removed after finding town hall had no working fire alarm'

A council clerk was removed by councillors after it was discovered that a town hall had no working fire alarm system, a former mayor has claimed.

The tribunal centres around the dismissal of a former Welshpool town Council deputy clerk
The tribunal centres around the dismissal of a former Welshpool town Council deputy clerk

Welshpool Town Councillor Steve Kaye, said former Welshpool town clerk Robert Robinson had been put on gardening leave after councillors were left ‘gobsmacked’ at the 2019 discovery about Welshpool Town Hall.

The council was responsible for the town hall and the revelation has come during an employment tribunal looking at a wrongful dismissal and whistleblowing claim from another former council employee.

Martin Bond, who was deputy town clerk at the council for three and a half months in 2019 before being fired, is making the claim against both the town council and Mr Robinson.

Mr Bond was dismissed by Mr Kaye two weeks into a six-week review period of the deputy clerk’s employment – allegedly sparked by concerns about deteriorating relationships between staff and Mr Bond.

Mr Bond however claims he was dismissed for raising concerns over the faulty fire alarm system – a claim rejected by Councillor Kaye, who said councillors were not aware of the issue at the time he was fired.

Mr Bond has also claimed Mr Kaye did not follow the council’s standing orders by dismissing him without the agreement of full council.

During cross examination Mr Bond suggested the decision had been based on the opinion of Mr Robinson, and asked Councillor Kaye if he had made his own investigations before dismissing him.

He said: “Mr Robinson created a story of poor relationships. Every time you have got on a train he was telling you about these relationships, ‘they are deteriorating’, then on May 10 he does the same then you accept what he said and your decision was based on his account.”

Councillor Kaye rejected the suggestion, saying: “It was what I was told by staff members as well.”

He also said he trusted Mr Robinson’s opinion at the time. He added: “I believed what Robert said. I trusted him and he said it was untenable and ‘we can’t keep doing this’.

“I asked him ‘can we dismiss him’, he said ‘yes, I have been onto the legal team to find if it is correct’.”

He later said: “The reason I dismissed you, or we dismissed you, was the fact you upset all the staff, and it was all about the staff and nothing to do with fire alarms whatsoever. It was an upsetting moment for all of us because we thought you could do the job but you could not because you did not get on with the staff.”

Mr Bond asked if Mr Kaye’s actions had been influenced by Mr Robinson. Councillor Kaye responded: “I dismissed you on the information I had off Robert Robinson my town clerk, which he told me was legal.” Mr Robinson will be cross examined over the case later this week.

The tribunal continues.

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