Brighton City Council sparks row over demands for resignation

A HEATING SERIES has erupted after calls for the resignation of two council members who are suffering from serious health problems.

Bridget Fishleigh, an independent councilwoman in the same parish, urged her to resign.

This sparked a dispute with the Tories, which quickly degenerated into swearing by Cllr Fishleigh.

The Argus: Cllr Robert Mcintosh and Cllr Mary Mears have both suffered from poor health in recent monthsCllr Robert Mcintosh and Cllr Mary Mears have both suffered from poor health in recent months

The dispute began after Cllr Fishleigh told The Argus: “We are elected for four years to represent the residents, if someone’s personal circumstances change and they are unable to carry out their council duties then I believe they should resign.

“I am sorry to hear of the ongoing poor health of Cllr Mears and Cllr McIntosh and wish them the best in a full and speedy recovery.

“However, being a council member is not a normal job – there are no fixed hours and we have an allowance, not a salary.”

Longtime Cllr Mears, a Conservative, was set to become the next Mayor of Brighton and Hove but fell ill in March and has not attended council meetings since.

Cllr McIntosh, who ran for Labor in a by-election in May, was diagnosed with colon cancer during the campaign and is said to be recovering from surgery.

Cllr Fishleigh said if the couple step down now they could run again in May’s local elections when they have recovered.

She said: “It’s not about us as councilors – it’s about our ability to carry out our duties and give a voice to the residents of Brighton and Hove.

“We can’t do that when we’re on long-term vacation.”

Cllr Fishleigh, the city’s only elected independent representative on the council, said she had seen an increased workload due to her absence.

She told The Argus she didn’t get any help from the other political parties to deal with it.

Cllr Fishleigh said: “They don’t record anything at all and just assume I’ll do all the work that I do, but we have three councilors for this area for a reason.

“It’s not my job to represent people who absolutely loathe me for no reason other than the fact that I’m not in their political party and I’m a better councilman than they are.”

Conservatives: ‘Fishleigh’s commitment to council is seen as bad’

The Argus turned to Labor and The Conservatives with Cllr Fishleigh’s comments.

Brighton Conservative leader Steve Bell slammed the independent council.

He said: “Cllr Fishleigh would do well to look at their own commitment to the Council, which is currently viewed as poor.

“Residents are concerned that Cllr Fishleigh is the only councilwoman who is refusing to take her seat on a decision-making body.

“She threw her vote away and that means less representation of residents at the important meetings where decisions that affect the city are made.”

Cllr Bell said that for nearly 20 years, Cllr Mears has “dedicated every single day to serving residents and has spent countless hours attending, speaking and voting for residents and council committee meetings”.

He said the council decided to give her a chance to make a full recovery.

“The Conservative group has handled Mary’s casework and emails so what Cllr Fishleigh said is not accurate,” he added.

‘Double yours, you f***er, Steve Bell’

The Argus then relayed Cllr Bell’s comments to Cllr Fishleigh.

Some readers might be offended by the language in their answer.

Cllr Fishleigh said: “I was on the planning committee for three years and resigned so I have more time for the community to cover Cllr Mears, so f*** him.

“Most people thought I was really good on the committee because I read the documents, attended almost all the meetings, asked questions and did site visits. I was quite sad to leave as I enjoyed it.

“I actually went to the last Planning Committee to represent Saltdean and Rottingdean residents who have objected to motions. They sent emails to all three council members, but I was the only one who bothered to reply – that’s a duplication of you, you bloody Steve Bell.”

She also said the conservative group has responded to residents’ emails, but “there’s never anything — they just say, ‘We’ll take care of it.'”

“If the work was covered, I wouldn’t bring it up,” she said.

“Counselors do their best to fulfill duties when they can”

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove City Council said that under the Local Government Act 1972 councilors who do not attend meetings for more than six months will be barred from continuing in office unless they receive the prior approval of the council.

He said: “We have a system where councilors at risk of disqualification can apply for an extension of up to six months. This can be further extended if the responsible committee agrees.

“Such extensions are normally granted in cases where the absence is beyond the City Council’s control and is also likely to be temporary.

“We do not comment on individual circumstances. However, we firmly believe that our Council members do their best to attend meetings and carry out their duties when they are able.” Brighton City Council sparks row over demands for resignation

Fry Electronics Team

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