Mayor calls for council pair to quit

Mayor of Peterlee, Mary Cartwright.
Mayor of Peterlee, Mary Cartwright.

The Mayor of Peterlee has called for the resignation of two councillors following a payout ahead of an employment tribunal.

Coun Mary Cartwright says she and other members of the North East Party, believe councillors Bill Jeffrey and Mandy Thompson should step down.

It was reported yesterday that Peterlee Town Council could be facing a £300,000 bill after an employment tribunal brought by council clerk, Jane Russell, was settled out of court.

Both Coun Thompson and Coun Jeffrey vehemently deny the allegations made against them.

However, the Mayor of Peterlee, Coun Mary Cartwright, said: “When the issue came to our attention the council referred the matter to a lawful and independent panel.

“Sadly Coun Jeffrey and Coun Thompson refused to acknowledge or attend the panel.”

Coun Cartwright said the panel upheld the claims it was looking into.

“Therefore, the members of the North East Party believe that Coun Jeffrey and Coun Thompson should resign without delay,” she added.

Coun Thompson said she and Coun Jeffrey did not comply with the panel because they felt it was unlawful.

She said the allegations began when she raised concerns about Jane Russell’s pay, questioning her getting full salary while on extended sick leave from work.

Coun Thompson said: “It is frankly disgraceful to call for my resignation, someone who has never taken a penny of council money, mine goes directly to charity.

“I expect I am the only ‘volunteer’ councillor and have done everything by the book.

“I will not resign for doing my elected role and will always work to represent the best interests of the population and to protect the public purse.”