Another Honiton town councillor resigns - mayor ‘vigorously’ rejects accusations

PUBLISHED: 12:28 13 May 2020

The Beehive in Honiton. Ref mhh 42 19TI 2191. Picture: Terry Ife

The Beehive in Honiton. Ref mhh 42 19TI 2191. Picture: Terry Ife


The Mayor of Honiton has rejected accusations made by Jason Hannay who resigned from the town council this week.

In his resignation letter to Honiton Town Council, Mr Hannay wrote: “I do not feel this council’s stronghold has the spirit and wellbeing of the community at heart.”

He accuses councillors of ‘continuously looking for the next legal battle’ instead of focusing on future projects and claims the ‘dysfunctional’ body failed to interact with the community, ‘even when emailing’.

The mayor, Councillor John Zarczynski, categorically rejected Mr Hannay’s claims.

He said: “I was very surprised and disappointed with former Councillor Jason Hannay’s reasons for tendering his resignation. As chairman of the council, I vigorously reject Mr Hannay’s accusations in his letter of resignation. I wish to assure members of the public that the majority of councillors are working well, fulfilling their duty serving the town and public.”

Mr Hannay, who was co-opted on to the council in September last year, has stepped down from his position representing St Michael’s Ward.

The council now has four vacancies, and Mr Hannay’s departure comes two weeks after Duncan Sheridan-Shaw resigned from the same ward.

In his letter, Mr Hannay also claims the council refused to give the public ‘what it wanted’ when it rejected a motion calling for the authority to be dissolved and re-elected.

At a town council in March, a petition calling for all councillors to resign and seek re-election was debated, but the motion failed, with two councillors resigning on the spot.

He says he can see why people in the past have resigned, highlighting unattributed ‘hidden agendas, personal attacks, camouflaged schoolboy bullying and power tripping’, characterising the conduct of some of his colleagues as ‘toxic’.

Mr Hannay also questions the lack of meetings during the coronavirus pandemic, despite their being allowed via video conferencing.

He writes: “I joined the council to make a difference for all, I’ve been involved with many great things in this town, a majority of it down the rugby club, I thought bringing that positivity, energy and enthusiasm on the council would be wanted.

“But that positivity, energy and enthusiasm is being drained for all the wrong reasons.

“If this is what councils are about then I’m unsure to why anyone would want to be on one.”

He pays tribute to the officers and staff working at Honiton Town Council and says he hopes to work with them again.

He adds: “Great things are coming for our community, and that is where you’ll find me, bringing that positivity, enthusiasm and energy.

“I wish all councillors good luck and hope to work with some of you again for the ‘Greater good’.”

St Michael’s is now represented by six councillors – council chairman John Zarczynski, Michelle Pollington, Nicolette Macve, Jill McNeilly, John Taylor, James Wyatt and Luke Dolby.

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