Former Honiton mayors clash after bid to discuss email behind closed doors is foiled

PUBLISHED: 11:21 11 December 2018 | UPDATED: 09:28 12 December 2018

Former mayors Cllr Henry Brown (top right), John Zarczynski and Caroline Kolek enagaged in heated discussion at last night's council meeting.

Former mayors Cllr Henry Brown (top right), John Zarczynski and Caroline Kolek enagaged in heated discussion at last night's council meeting.

Archant

A row has ensued between mayors past and present in a debate over whether the contents of an email the serving mayor sent to members should be public.

For legal reasons the Herald is unable to report the contents of the email at this stage.

The email had been advised for discussion by Honiton Town Council behind closed doors, but councillors voted on Monday, December 11 to discuss the issue in the open.

Due to council rules, they were told that the vote meant the matter would have to be adjourned until January.

During Monday’s meeting former mayor Cllr Zarczynski said the email was not marked ‘confidential’, and was cut off by Cllr Brown, who said he was happy to discuss the contents of the email.

“Yes, I’ll shut up Mr Mayor,” Cllr Zarczynski said, but Cllr Brown shot back: “I’m happy to discuss it John, I’ve got nothing to hide.”

The discussion of the email’s contents did not continue at that point.

Cllr Caroline Kolek, herself a former mayor and mother of serving mayor Cllr Brown, said an attempt was being made to ‘humiliate’ individuals on the town council.

She said: “All of us here come to this on the basis, most of us, because we want to do good for our town. I think as mayor, you have done a brilliant job. You are really popular in the town.”

Cllr Kolek said people make mistakes, adding: “You sent out an email that you were given advice over and some people don’t like it and now they want to try and publicly humiliate you for it.

“I think those people need to sit back and have a good look at themselves. We all know this is an attempt to humiliate and embarrass. It’s appalling behaviour.”

Cllr John Zarczynski, said he ‘totally disagreed’ with Cllr Kolek.

“There was strenuous effort made by myself and the deputy for this to not even be brought to council,” he said.

“But it was the mayor who deemed fit to send an email… to all councillors, including the monitoring officer. So please don’t blame this council as being at wrong for bringing this to council.”

Council clerk Mark Tredwin urged the council to calm down and advised members to vote on whether the subject be moved to the council’s January meeting.

He added his advice would be that it not be discussed in public in January.

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