The dispute over Brighton Councilors’ resignation demands continues

AN INDEPENDENT councilor has been accused of having “no compassion for others” amid an ongoing dispute over two councilors with serious medical problems being asked to resign.

The couple, who also represent Rottingdean, have not attended council meetings for medical reasons, with Cllr Fishleigh claiming she has had to take on extra work without support.

Wishing both council members a speedy recovery, she told The Argus: “We are elected for four years to represent the residents. If someone’s personal circumstances change and they are unable to fulfill their Council duties, then I believe they should resign.”

“If she thinks she’s not liked, she should ask herself why”

However, Conservative councilwoman Dawn Barnett, a close colleague of Cllr Mears, has hit back, calling the calls for his resignation “very selfish”.

She said: “Cllr Fishleigh has a very high opinion of herself and thinks she stands out from the crowd.

“Her comments are very selfish – if she thinks she’s not liked on the Council, maybe she should ask herself why.”

The Argus: Councilor Dawn Barnett described comments from Cllr Fishleigh as "very selfish"Councilor Dawn Barnett described Cllr Fishleigh’s comments as “very selfish”.

Cllr Barnett replaces Cllr Mears on the housing committee while she recovers, describing her as a “hard-working councilwoman”.

“Instead of complaining, Cllr Fishleigh should help,” she said. “First, she should take her seat on a council committee, as any other city councilor does and is expected to do.”

“I’m not the problem” – Cllr Fishleigh

The row became heated earlier this week after Cllr Fishleigh condemned Conservative group leader Steve Bell for “throwing away her vote” by not taking a seat on a decision-making body.

She said: “I was on the planning committee for three years and resigned so I could have more time on the station to represent Cllr Mears, so f*** him.”

In response to Cllr Barnett’s comments, Cllr Fishleigh said: “She is entitled to her opinion – of course I am not unsympathetic to her poor health. I’m just pointing out that if they’re elected to represent the residents, that’s their job, and if they’re on long-term sick leave then they don’t do that job.

“The political parties can speak out personally about me, but I’m not the problem – the problem is the long-term absence of these councillors.”

The Argus: Cllr Robert Mcintosh and Cllr Mary Mears were both absent due to health issuesCllr Robert Mcintosh and Cllr Mary Mears were both absent due to health issues

Cllr Mears, who has been a councilor for almost 20 years, was set to become the next mayor of Brighton and Hove but fell ill in March and has been absent from 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.

Labor criticizes ‘unsympathetic response’

Labor group co-leader Carmen Appich expressed disappointment at Cllr Fishleigh’s “unsympathetic response” to Cllr Mcintosh and Cllr Mears’ illness.

She said the group, along with the office of Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, responded to Cllr Mcintosh’s casework in his absence.

“To date we have handled over 50 cases including the replacement of a bus stop destroyed by Storm Eunice and a Council review of safety on the Falmer Road following an incident.”

Cllr Fishleigh denied this, saying: “This bus shelter has been replaced as a result of action taken by myself and Rottingdean Council, so I don’t appreciate the political parties recognizing the work of other people. This is not what other local people experience.

“It would be more helpful if, rather than writing inaccurate statements to The Argus, the political parties reached out and asked if I needed anything due to the councilors’ absence, as my to-do list is longer than my arm.” The dispute over Brighton Councilors’ resignation demands continues

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