New mayor of Honiton resigns just minutes into her term

Ashley Delasalle

Ashley Delasalle - Credit: Archant

Ashley Delasalle beat Cllr John Zarczynski to the post after an eight to six vote count in her favour.

Honiton councillors were left stunned after the town’s new mayor sensationally resigned on the spot and walked out of the meeting.

Ashley Delasalle narrowly edged out Cllr John Zarczynski for the mayoral spot, but just minutes into her term, attacked the authority before announcing her immediate resignation.

Her speech, in which she blasted the council as “broken” and “diseased with negative energy”, was met with strong applause from members of the public gallery.

The bombshell announcement yesterday evening left the room silenced, before Cllr Henry Brown, who had been voted deputy mayor shortly before, took charge of the meeting.

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Mrs Delasalle remained composed and levelled throughout her speech, in which she said she had witnessed “harassment, bullying and intimidation” of fellow councillors and council employees.

Speaking at last night’s meeting, she said: “I feel a victim of this treatment myself and the treatment of our temporary responsible finance officer can only be described as appalling.

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“Despite the best efforts of some of us, this bullying and harassment has remained uncontrolled and unreported.

“It is my opinion that Honiton Town Council is broken, it is limping from one crisis to the next.

“It is diseased with negative energy, with personal battles of ego, with personal ambition – there is a lack of mutual respect and sense of common decency among its peers, and is fixated with the past.”

Mrs Delasalle, who had taken the role over from outgoing mayor Cllr Caroline Kolek, said the behaviour affects the health of the council’s employees, members and members’ families.

She added: “We should be ashamed. I promise the town of Honiton that I will do all I can to achieve the aims I have set out above to the best of my ability.

“I will welcome all the co-operation and help I know I will receive from many of you and from the people of the town.

“I feel that my efforts will be most effective without the influence of that town council and for that reason, it is without regret or apology that I resign from the council with immediate effect.”

An extraordinary general meeting of the town council is expected to be held this month following Mrs Delasalle’s resignation.

Another Honiton town councillor also quit at last night’s meeting.

David Perkins announced his resignation after councillors voted to remove him from the committee investigating the finances of the Beehive build.

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