Seaton: mayor defends clerk after critics' assault

THE Mayor of Seaton has defended the town clerk s role after it was slammed by councillors and residents.

THE Mayor of Seaton has defended the town clerk's role after it was slammed by councillors and residents.

Critics, who spoke at the March meeting of Seaton Town Council, claimed David Mears was not ensuring transparency and not responding to concerns raised by residents.

The temporary downgrading of Seaton Tourist Information Centre was highlighted and one councillor questioned if Mr Mears' position was "tenable".

All the comments were made in Mr Mears' absence, while he was on annual leave.

Cllr Mark Fisher said: "Mr Mears virtually guaranteed work would be carried out on the TIC this April. If not, I feel his position would have become untenable."

Resident Elga Mackie questioned why Mr Mears gave one newspaper an exclusive interview, and asked who authorised the content.

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Chamber of commerce member Gaynor Sedgewick said: "The town clerk seems to be running the council - only he is able to answer questions."

And John Seward asked how much the the TIC move would save the council.

It is understood by this newspaper that the wage bill for the previous facility was more than some major tourist destinations.

Mayor Sandra Semple defended Mr Mears' work.

She asked residents to put their concerns in writing to him.

She said he did answer questions, but sometimes at a later date.

She told the Midweek Herald: "The council has a duty of care to all employees and it must ensure that they are treated with fairness and respect and are not subject to trial by media.

"It is for the personnel committee alone, as stated in standing orders, to deal with staffing issues if there are any."

Mr Mears told the Herald that the TIC move save around �12,000 a year.