Sacked war­den to meet coun­cil bosses

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - News - by Sarah Mar­shall smar­shall@thek­m­

FOR­MER com­mu­nity war­den Bob Hughes is pre­par­ing to meet county coun­cil bosses as part of a griev­ance pro­ce­dure against the ter­mi­na­tion of his con­tract.

He has been called to a meet­ing in Maid­stone which will take place on Wed­nes­day.

Through­out the last month there has been an un­prece­dented back­lash from vil­lagers in Sev­ing­ton, Smeeth, Brabourne, Mer­sham and Ald­ing­ton to KCC’s de­ci­sion to get rid of their much- loved com­mu­nity war­den, a re­tired Met Po­lice of­fi­cer with 33 years polic­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, af­ter his six-month pro­ba­tion­ary pe­riod came to an end.

Bosses told Mr Hughes he no longer had a job as he was “too chal­leng­ing” – a rea­son which out­raged vil­lagers and sparked sto­ries in the na­tional press.

Parish coun­cil­lors for the vil­lages Mr Hughes served have this week re­ceived a let­ter from KCC bosses fol­low­ing a meet­ing they held to dis­cuss the sit­u­a­tion.

But coun­cil bosses have still re­fused to let the parishes know whether or not there is a pos­si­bil­ity that Mr Hughes could be re-ap­pointed un­der the KCC griev­ance pro­ce­dure. Last week the county coun­cil con­firmed that an­other com- mu­nity war­den had al­ready been put in post to re­place Mr Hughes.

County coun­cil bosses have also not an­swered parish and bor­ough coun­cil­lors’ ques­tion as to whether KCC could look into sources of fund­ing which would en­able the parish coun­cils to em­ploy Mr Hughes di­rectly.

The let­ter states that the parishes are per­mit­ted to raise more money them­selves – but this would have to be done by rais­ing coun­cil tax.

Ash­ford bor­ough coun­cil­lor Richard Honey ( Con) said: “This makes a mock­ery of KCC’s stated de­sire of work­ing with the com­mu­nity to re­gain its trust and shows that KCC can­not be trusted to abide by its word.”

Al­most 100 names ap­pear on the Bring back Bob pe­ti­tion at www.ken­tish­ex­ bobpe­ti­tion.

There are 97 sig­na­tures, in­clud­ing one from a serv­ing se­nior Kent Po­lice of­fi­cer, who lives in one of the vil­lages.

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