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TRIBUNAL: Seven council staff knew Town Hall fire alarms were broken

Created on 07/12/2021 @ 18:31

As many as seven Welshpool Town Council employees knew that the Town Hall’s fire alarm system was not working an employment tribunal heard today.

Former Assistant Town Clerk Martin Bond is taking the Town Council and its former Town Clerk Robert Robinson to the tribunal to complain of unfair dismissal after whistle blowing about a broken alarm system at the Town Hall.

And this afternoon the council’s Operations Manager Paul McGrath agreed under oath when Mr Bond said as many as seven staff were aware of the situation, including Town Clerk Robert Robinson.

“Including Robert Robinson seven members of staff knew about the fire alarm situation. Yet no-one ever told me that they weren’t working,” said Mr Bond.

In response Mr McGrath said: “You weren’t the most approachable character. I can’t remember discussing fire alarms with you at any time.”

Mr Bond said people attending functions were at risk because the fire alarms were not working.

Mr McGrath said he carried out weekly tests of the alarm system and reported weekly to the Town Council that it was not working. He said it might have been on as many as 20 occasions that he had raised the issue with Mr Robinson.

“When I questioned him why nothing was being done he said it only needed a few batteries replacing.”

Mr McGrath said on the day after Mr Robinson’s PA Lizzie Moore had revealed the situation to councillors he had been called to a meeting with her and the Town Clerk.

“She said we needed to discuss the ‘Elephant In The Room’ which was the alarm system.”

When asked why he had not raised the issue with councillors Mr McGrath said Mr Robinson had told staff not to talk to councillors. He said it was “frowned upon” by Mr Robinson.

Street Scene team member Phil Rollinson said: “We were instructed by Mr Robinson not to talk to town councillors.”

Mr Rollinson said that the Street Scene team had held a meeting with Mr Robinson to discuss their relationship with Mr Bond. “We as a team didn’t feel comfortable working with Martin Bond.”

The hearing continues tomorrow, Wednesday.

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