A motion for a vote of no confidence in Thanet council leader Bob Bayford will be put forward at a full council meeting on October 10.
The motion is being put by Thanet Independent Group leader Cllr Stuart Piper and has been backed by Independent Group Councillors John Dennis, Lynda Piper, Bertie Braidwood and Gary Taylor.
Cllr Piper said: “The main substance (of the motion) will be presented at the meeting, A number of members have expressed serious concerns about his ability to continue as leader. The Constitution allows members to move such a motion and so the letter was sent to the council chairman calling the meeting.
“He has obliged and suggested October 10. I can’t prejudice members views by giving details in advance of that meeting.”
Cllr Bayford took the role of council leader in March 2018 when then-UKIP leader Chris Wells resigned, signalling the end of the country’s first UKIP council which had been elected in a landslide victory in 2015.
The resignation followed a split in the Thanet UKIP party due to the issue of Manston airport and the draft Local Plan.
Twelve UKIP members quit the group to form their own independent party after refusing to back a Local Plan that designated the Manston site for mixed use instead of aviation.
Cllr Bayford, as Leader of the largest group on council, moved to form a fresh administration. Cllr Wells agreed to step aside to minimise disruption and maintain stability at the council by ensuring a vote for a new leader without the disruption of a vote of no confidence.
In May this year a poll at the first full council meeting since the local elections on May 2 confirmed Cllr Bayford as the leader of Thanet council – but only by one vote.
Cllr Bayford and Labour leader Rick Everitt were both nominated for the position and a show of hands resulted in 24 votes apiece.
The casting vote taken by new council chairman Jason Savage resulted in the appointment of Cllr Bayford.
The motion on October 10 will need to have a majority backing to go on to debate or vote. If a vote of no confidence is passed Cllr Bayford would be expected to resign his role as leader and a new leader installed. However, the motion could also fall, meaning a vote will not take place.
Thanet Labour Party leader Rick Everitt said the motion would have ‘no practical effect.’
He said:: “The motion as proposed has no practical effect. Either Cllr Piper doesn’t know that because he has council procedure confused with Westminster or he is not serious about changing the leader and is just playing to the gallery. I can only assume the latter as he hasn’t spoken to me about it.”
The motion comes on the heels of councillors calling for a complete change of hands at the top of the management structure at Thanet council in the wake of revelations about bullying and harassment grievances being made against the chief executive and Director of Operational Services.
There has also been councillor unrest over decisions made regarding Ramsgate Port and Harbour.
Thanet has 56 councillors – 25 Conservative, 20 Labour, 7 Thanet Independent Group, 3 Green and 1 Independent.