Westgate Town Council publishes apology to former clerk

Westgate Town Council

Westgate Town Council has published an apology to its former clerk Gill Gray over “the behaviour of a minority of current sitting Town Councillors during working hours, at meetings and on social media.”

Gill was the town clerk from January 2018 until the end of July 2023. She now works for Sandwich Town Council.

The statement published today (October 31) says: “Westgate-on-Sea Town Council is making an unreserved apology to the previous Town Clerk/RFO – Mrs G. Gray for the behaviour of a minority of current sitting Town Councillors during working hours, at meetings and on social media.

“It is widely accepted that during her role as Town Clerk/RFO Mrs G. Gray undertook many roles within the community and was dedicated to the improvement of the town.

“The Town Council will improve its endeavours to ensure that all Town Councillors consider their moral and legal obligations, duty of care and respect to all employees of the Town Council which is conducive to a positive working environment and long-term productivity.”

The apology is signed by Cllr David Donaldson, Chair of Westgate-on-Sea Town Council and Cllr Clive Veck, Vice-Chair of Westgate-on-Sea Town Counci.

The town council offices are currently closed due to the exit of Gill Gray and also Chloe Wheatley, who was interim Town Clerk. Chloe, who now works for Ash Parish Council, is helping out at Westgate on an ad-hoc basis but it is hoped a new clerk will be in place early next year.

Cllr Donaldson said although the office isn’t open it is still council business as usual.

The office is being opened for meetings and community groups such as Spanish classes, Sewing Bees and the Barclays bank ‘pop-up’.

He added: “In addition, no scheduled council meetings are being cancelled.

“There will be a full council meeting on 7th November and so on.  Our three operatives  are still very busy keeping the streets of Westgate clean and tidy.

“The only service that we have had to suspend is the daily drop in for local residents, which was in the mornings from Monday to Thursday. But those residents can contact us directly if they have an urgent problem, which we will of course deal with promptly.”

Email [email protected] for any queries.

9 Comments

  1. Since Gill Gray joined Sandwich Town Council,she has worked tirelessly to help the predominately new (May) intake undo the mistakes/mismanagement of previous administrations, and set a clear course for the future. Those of us who follow Council proceedings are delighted to have such a ‘safe pair of hands’ in charge.Westgates loss is truly Sandwichs gain!

  2. To those who have made a comment (only two, when I started posting this), I would make the following observations –
    The Clerk (Town, District, what/where-ever) is NOT elected.
    The Town Clerk has a salary – Town Councillors don’t get a penny (District and above do, but not Town/Parish).
    Yes, a good Town Clerk is most wonderful and very much worth keeping.

  3. Having known and worked with Mrs Gray for several months now I know she is an honest, true, hardworking professional who goes above and beyond her job role and has been an absolute asset to Sandwich Town Council and myself as Mayor. I wish Westgate on sea council well in trying to replace such an excellent colleague.

  4. A council and it’s clerk is a partnership.If either party fails to observe that partnership, trouble will arise.
    I know something about this council and they are not bad people.It is to their credit that they have publicly apologised.
    Mrs Gray is a good clerk and Sandwich will be well advised to cleave to her.5 years is about the norm for clerks,so nothing unusual there.Sandwich are also paying top dollar so they should expect good service from their clerk.
    A good test of an effective council is how it performs in a crisis.During the pandemic Westgate was one of the angels and did good work.Others including District,County,and now it seems,the Johnson administration at Westminster did not.
    As a poacher turned gamekeeper I can see both sides of the council/clerk divide, and I accept that some councillors,mainly men,but not exclusively,have a problem with relating to women officials,in particular.I also know that poor performance and procrastination are sometimes not tackled because of complaints of bullying.The affairs of TDC, a few years ago are evidence of that syndrome.
    I hope everyone has really learnt lessons and that both sides can move on.

  5. Perhaps her eyes have been opened on how a Town Council should be run not as she was used to .The Clerk is an advisory role and an important one but must not try and take over the meetings and must not make important descions without referring to the Council .

  6. Good luck in finding a new clerk! they are like gold dust, you may find it is like pulling Hen’s teeth. A good clerk deserve’s every penny they earn.

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