New mayor of Honiton pledges to unite splintered town council

PUBLISHED: 10:26 18 May 2017 | UPDATED: 09:56 22 May 2017

Honiton mayor John Zarczynski.

Honiton mayor John Zarczynski.

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His message comes after six members walked out on the trouble authority in the space of a week.

Honiton’s new mayor has pledged to unite the town council after a farcical few weeks saw six members quit the troubled authority.

Cllr John Zarcyznski was voted in as leader of the council on Monday - after a bid to dissolve the authority was blocked.

Now, Mr Zarczynski has now said he wants to bring the council closer together and drive the group forward.

Speaking to the Herald, he said: “The council has been through a very turbulent time over the past few years, and I must express my deepest admiration for former mayor Cllr Caroline Kolek.

“She steered the council through very difficult times having to rise above much unjust criticism by some with interests to undermine the credibility of the council in the press and on social media.”

Mr Zarczysnki was voted in as mayor a week after the council’s original choice, Ashley Delasalle, dramatically quit the authority.

In a statement read out at the meeting, Mrs Delasalle described the council as “broken” and “diseased with negative energy”.

She then quit on the spot and walked out of the meeting, at the Beehive in Honiton.

Following her resignation, five other members quit the troubled council - including former mayor Peter Halse.

Graham Smith also walked out on the council after his bid to dissolve it and appeal for every councillor to resign was blocked at an extraordinary meeting last Monday.

Now, Cllr Zarczynski is looking to patch up the council’s wounds.

He said: “My priority is to unite the council. I and my fellow councillors have a duty as public servants to get on with working for the good of the town and taxpayers of Honiton and not allow unjustified criticism to distract council from fulfilling its duty to the town.

“There was an upbeat mood during and after Monday’s extraordinary meeting with councillors clearly demonstrating their enthusiasm to working together for the good of the town.

“The foundation has now been laid for this new council to move on with serving the town and the taxpayers of Honiton.”

Cllr Zarczynski formerly served as Peter Halse’s deputy.

After losing his council seat in May 2015, he stood for re-election and won his place back on the council in October 2016.

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