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Shaftesbury Town Clerk Quits – Mayor Blames Bullying

Shaftesbury town clerk Claire Commons has resigned after 14 years working for the Town Council.

In a statement, mayor Cllr Andy Hollingshead blames Cllr Karen Tippins for Mrs Commons’ decision to step down. Cllr Tippins was elected to the Town Council in December 2019. The mayor alleges she’s made the town clerk’s job impossible because of bullying.

Town clerk Claire Commons

Back in September, Dorset Council’s Audit and Governance Committee investigated complaints made against Cllr Tippins. They unanimously agreed that her actions ‘amounted to bullying and harassment over a period of time’.

Following that hearing, Cllr Tippins wasn’t allowed to contact the town clerk or council staff directly and required an appointment to visit the Town Hall outside council meeting times. It was also agreed that a third party would be present to accompany staff when she was in the building.

Claire Commons will now work out her three months’ notice and will leave her position on the 11th of March. Listen to hear Cllr Hollingshead read a statement issued jointly with deputy mayor, Cllr Alex Chase.

Cllr Karen Tippins

Karen Tippins told Alfred that she wasn’t going to comment on what she describes as ‘malicious statements made by councillors with a political agenda’. But she did say she wished Claire Commons well in her new role.

Click below to listen.