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Town Clerk did not report broken Town Hall fire alarms

Created on 06/12/2021 @ 20:51


Welshpool Town Hall operated without a fire alarm for two and a half years leading to the suspension of Town Clerk Robert Robinson an Employment Tribunal heard today.

Former Assistant Town Clerk Martin Bond is taking the Town Council and its former Town Clerk to the tribunal to complain of being unfairly dismissal after whistle blowing about the alarms.

The tribunal, which is expected to last all week, heard former Town Mayor Councillor Steve Kaye, (pictured bottom) say that he put Mr Robinson (pictured top) on gardening leave as soon as he had discovered that the town hall’s fire alarms had not worked for two and a half years and the then Town Clerk had not taken any action - or told his employers Welshpool Town Council.

Councillor Kaye told the tribunal that he and his fellow councillors had trusted Mr Robinson to run the council’s affairs.

When pressed under oath by Mr Bond, Councillor Kaye said in hindsight he should not have trusted him. “I wouldn’t trust him now with a 10-foot barge pole, he has written complete and utter lies.”

Councillor Kaye said that Lizzie Moore, Mr Robinson’s PA, had reported the situation to a council meeting held in closed session on August 22, 2019 when allegations of bullying by Mr Robinson were being discussed. He had taken action the following day to close the Town Hall.

When asked if other members of staff knew about the situation Councillor Kaye said it had emerged that they did but were probably protecting their jobs by saying nothing.

Mr Bond claimed ACAS had contacted the Town Council on the morning of the 22nd and he had a copy of an email sent to Councillor Kaye. Mr Kaye denied having seen the email.

Councillor Kaye said neither Mr Robinson nor Mr Bond had reported the problems with the alarms. “You would both have gone down the road had I known.”

He said it was a criminal offence.

The tribunal heard that Mr Bond had been employed as Assistant Town Clerk in 2019 with a view to succeeding Mr Robinson on his retirement. But Mr Robinson was soon reporting bad feeling between Mr Bond and the rest of the council staff.

The complaints raised by Mr Robinson had been discussed by the council and Mr Bond had been told he would continue employment under a six-week trial. Two weeks later he was sacked by Councillor Kaye with Councillor Phil Pritchard acting as a witness.

Mr Bond told the tribunal there was nothing in writing that staff were complaining about him only reports by Mr Robinson.

Mr Bond said he had letters from the Town Council’s solicitors confirming that Mr Robinson had destroyed many documents before his departure and a letter from the current Town Clerk saying he made decisions without telling the council.

Mr Bond also questioned whether proper grievance procedures or council’s standing orders had been followed correctly in his dismissal. Councillor Kaye said Mr Robinson told him he had taken legal advice.

Mr Bond challenged the former Mayor that Mr Robinson had created a story about poor relationships which he had accepted.

The tribunal continues tomorrow morning (Tuesday).

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