Shaftesbury Town Council’s Mediator Quits Because Two Councillors Won’t Meet Him

A local government expert hired by Shaftesbury Town Council to address issues raised by Cllr Karen Tippins has quit.

Earlier this year, Shaftesbury Town councillors passed a vote of no confidence in Cllr Tippins following several allegations of bullying. At the same time, Shaftesbury Chamber of Commerce led a petition calling for her resignation.

Cllr Tippins issued a legal challenge, so councillors agreed to spend up to £6,000 on a third-party consultant to mediate.

A retired police officer and former Chard Town clerk, John Furze, was appointed. But he’s resigned because he’s been unable to make progress. Both Cllr Tippins and her supporter Cllr Peter Yeo refused to engage with Mr Furze.

Cllr Karen Tippins

An email from Mr Furze is published on the agenda for next Tuesday’s Town Council meeting. He is highly critical of Cllr Yeo’s and Cllr Tippins’ methods. He describes their accusations as ‘spurious’ and refers to their arguments as ‘needless erroneous assertions’. And he says he is ‘unable to show any positive effect their behaviour has had for those who elected them’.

Mr Furze says Cllr Tippins’ and Cllr Yeo’s actions are costing the council money, and unless these members ‘improve their knowledge of Council procedures and their individual behaviour’, the present situation will continue.

He wishes to be released from his council contract by 30th September.

We offered Cllrs Tippins and Yeo a chance to respond or comment. They didn’t reply. Councillors will discuss the issue in Tuesday’s meeting.

Listen at 2.31 on Saturday’s Alfred Daily.