Councillor given reprimand over threat at meeting

A WESTHAM and Stone Cross councillor has been formally reprimanded for threatening one of his colleagues after a heated discussion at a council meeting.

Cllr Derk Molog, who has served as a parish councillor at Westham and Stone Cross Community Council for eight years, was given the reprimand after Wealden District Councils’ Standards Committee found he had breached the code of conduct.

The case came about after cllr Ken Saxby lodged a complaint with the committee which alleged cllr Molog had ‘interrupted and shouted offensive remarks at cllr Saxby’ during September’s council meeting.

It was also alleged that at the end of the meeting cllr Molog made further offensive comments and said, ‘I’ll knock your bloody head off’.

Cllr Molog denied using the alleged words and said the incident would be better described as a ‘heated exchange’.

He was represented at by Dave Picton at the standards committee hearing at Wealden District Council’s offices in Hailsham on Wednesday morning (March 30).

Mr Picton told the committee cllr Saxby had been ‘goading’ cllr Molog since he and his wife Barbara Molog, who also sits on the parish council, moved out of the parish to Polegate.

“Anybody being got at over a long period of time would snap after a time.

“The fact it has taken three of four years is some credit to him [cllr Molog],” said Mr Picton.

“He accepts he was wrong but it was a one-off.”

The standards committee was also told the clerk to Westham and Stone Cross Community Council had warned cllr Molog he may have breached the code of conduct after September’s meeting.

Cllr Molog later issued a formal apology to the council and cllr Saxby for his behaviour.

Parish councillor Bev Gardener was a witness at the standards committee meeting.

She said there was a ‘personality clash’ between cllr Molog and cllr Saxby.

Barbara Molog told the committee she too had been victim to cllr Saxby’s ‘continual goading’.

She explained she had gone outside on the night and seen her husband and cllr Saxby.

She said, “I thought it was two boys throwing their toys out of the pram.”

Mr Picton told the standards committee Cllr Molog was profoundly deaf and sometimes spoke in a loud voice which may have been misconstrued as aggressive.

However, the committee found that Cllr Molog had threatened Cllr Saxby outside the meeting and that Cllr Molog’s behaviour was aggressive.

They decided to censure Cllr Molog and said that he, Cllr Saxby and Cllr Terry Comerford, who also complained about Cllr Molog’s behaviour at September’s meeting, were to undertake a conciliation programme.

They also said the clerk to the council should draw up a course on the code of conduct for the whole council to take part in.