A NEW mayor spelled a fresh beginning for Gainsborough Town Council at its annual town meeting on Tuesday.
Liberal Democrat Coun Lesley Rollings was elected to serve as town mayor for the next year, replacing fellow Lib Dem Coun Harry Clarke in the chairman’s seat.
Losing out was Coun Robin Perry who, just a week before he was due to stand for mayor, resigned from the Lib Dem party.
Coun Perry, who now sits as an independent councillor, said he no longer saw eye to eye with the party and claimed ‘bullying’ tactics were being used to make councillors tow the party line.
“Being a councillor is about the residents of Gainsborough and they should come first, not our own personal agendas.”
Outgoing Mayor Harry Clarke said it had been a ‘difficult’ year for the council, with sick leave among officers creating difficulties and delays in council proceedings.
And the disruption seems set to continue, with both council clerk Paul Leeder and Lib Dem Coun Paul Key absent due to illness.
Also notably absent from the meeting was Coun Trevor Young, leader of Gainsborough Lib Dems.
A spokesman for Gainsborough Town Council confirmed his shock resignation to the Standard on Wednesday morning.
“Coun Young handed his notice of resignation to us on Tuesday at 4pm stating personal and professional reasons,” they said.
Some difficult questions were thrown at councillors during the public session.
One related to whether the council represented value for money. And another asked if the council would start making decisions after a year when many agenda items were repeatedly deferred.
These were partly answered by Coun Rollings’ first speech as mayor.
“We all want a fresh start on this council,” she said. “This is a town council and it should not be run as a political affair, we should be working together for the good of Gainsborough.”
“I see that as my role - to stop the waffling and get some skills on the council, get people sitting on committees so we can move in the right direction.”
“For me it has been a difficult year and I would like to move on from that.”
Coun Rollings said that ‘skullduggery’ must stop in order for some real work to be done.
“We must get this council respected, because it isn’t at the moment. We are a laughing stock.”
“That is partly our own fault and partly some of the people hanging around on the periphery making mischief.”
“I want this to be an organisation we can be proud of.”
The council then elected members onto each of its committees, which had been suspended since last May.
And they adopted a new set of standing orders - which set out the council’s conduct and governance.