MP calls in auditors over ‘council chaos’

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Seaford MP Norman Baker has called in auditors asking for an urgent investigation into the running and finances of the town council following allegations of bullying and infighting.

In a damning statement the politician said the council was ‘dysfunctional’ and ‘out of control’ and listed a series of concerns, including allegations of bullying from town council staff who say they were ‘forced out’.

Mr Baker said, “I do not normally intervene in such matters but the state of chaos and mismanagement at Seaford Town Council (STC) is such that it cannot be allowed to deteriorate further. I owe it my constituents in what is the biggest town in my constituency to take action. That’s why I have written to the independent District Auditor to ask for an urgent investigation.

“Seaford Town Council is dysfunctional and out of control.”

Mr Baker has listed top ten concerns which include alleged infighting within the Conservative group and a proposal for a council tax increase of almost 10 per cent.

A joint statement issued by Paul Franklin and Barry Burfield, Conservative councillors, said STC had regular independent internal and external audits and no recent reports had highlighted any significant areas of concern. Referring to allegations of bullying, they said the council had never received any complaint, allegation, or grievance by any current or past employee regarding staff management and care.

They added, “We are unaware of any endemic infighting within the Conservative group. There have been disagreements between group members regarding individual issues and policies, and this is all part of healthy debate as part of the democratic process.”