10:55 06 February 2012
Due to concerns raised by the public, and which are shared by some elected members regarding the overpayment of £5,000 to the Tourist Information Centre by Exmouth Town Council, the Liberal Democrat Town Councillors wish to make the following statement.
We were first told about the overpayment by the town clerk at a meeting of the finance committee on October 24, 2011, when we listened in stunned silence. Information subsequently emerged, which stated that the error had been discovered in February, 2011.
We wish to make absolutely clear that none of the Liberal Democrat councillors was informed of this overpayment until October 24, since when, despite our and the public’s persistent questions being asked, we have not received any answers as to how the overpayment had been made.
We have been told that there had been an agreement made at the time of the discovery, between the town council and the (old) tourist information centre, but we have not been told who at the town council had agreed any arrangement. It certainly did not go before any council committee.
In the interests of representing our constituents, and for good governance and transparency, we have made a request for an investigation to be carried out into the matter. We are deeply concerned that the reputation of Exmouth Town Council is at risk of being brought into disrepute.
We trust that a full explanation will be given so that the whole unfortunate episode can be brought to an end and that the real business of the town council can continue.
Cllr Steve Gazzard, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Exmouth Town Council.