Mayor apologises for any offence caused at meeting

The Mayor of Berwick has apologised for any offence her behaviour at recent council meetings has caused.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 19 February, 2016, 07:55
Mayor Hazel Bettison

However, Councillor Hazel Bettison has refused to backtrack on a decision to stifle discussion on an issue which involves staff.

She shocked many at last month’s full council meeting when she banged her fist on the table when Councillor Georgina Hill tried to question a statement she issued in relation to a complaint about the procedures surrounding the decision to allow the last of the Portas funding to be used on a disabled-friendly footpath on the quayside.

Several other councillors had also indicated a willingness to discuss the matter but were over-ruled.

The mayor later said she slammed the table to bring order to proceedings because she did not have a gavel.

Responding to a request for an apology from local resident David Spencer-Barclay at last week’s town council meeting, Coun Bettison said: “We’ve been asked for transparency and I was trying to update members of the public on what was happening and that the matter had been referred to the staffing committee.

“We were having a confidential meeting about the matter so I could not allow an open discussion to take place.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“However, if I alarmed anyone or distressed anyone then I apologise for that.”

Mr Spencer-Barclay, who was in attendance at the meeting, said he was ‘appalled’ by the mayor’s actions.

He also sought assurances that it would not happen again.

“If it does we risk going back into the dark days again,” he warned.

Councillor Hill tried to raise the same issue again at a staffing committee meeting the following week but was refused. She had also called for an apology from the mayor.