FURIOUS residents are demanding answers over the treatment of a former council clerk after he was suspended for nine months and then resigned.
The Whitchurch Herald is pursuing a request under the Freedom of Information Act for townspeople to know the truth behind both the costs involved and the council's decision-making process after Peter Martin eventually resigned earlier this summer.
Mayor of Whitchurch, Peggy Mullock, Cllr John Stokes who sits on the staffing committee, and Richard Thomas, the town council's current office manager, have all declined to comment on the matter citing legal advice as the reason for doing so.
However the circumstances leading to the clerk's resignation have concerned local people and one Whitchurch resident, Patrick Crump, told the Herald: "The council should tell us what it has cost us taxpayers."
Meanwhile, one Whitchurch councillor has broken ranks to claim a financial settlement has been paid to the former council clerk.
Cllr Alistair Young alleges Mr Martin's suspension arose from his preference of "doing everything by the book," claiming the approach did not go down well with some councillors.
Whitchurch Town Council is now advertising for a new clerk with the post attracting a salary of more than £34,000 a year bt Cllr Young said: "Transparency is very important and it is about time the council came clean about just how much this has actually cost the town.
"Peter Martin was suspended before he knew the reasons why. I was at the meeting when the decision was made and in my view it was procedurally and morally incorrect."
Cllr Young said before Mr Martin's suspension a third-party company was brought in to interview councillors and the former town clerk about issues related to the suspension for which he claims to have seen a bill for £8,500 alone.
Mr Martin has so far been unavailable for comment.