THE current chairman of a parish council whose former clerk syphoned £28,200 from its bank account said the guilty verdict has 'brought to an end a sad episode.'
Tony Konieczny spoke after Lynne Turner, 50, of Tancred Road, High Wycombe was found guilty at Oxford Crown Court of ten counts of fraud by abuse of position.
She transferred £28,200 from the parish council accounts to her own account between August 2010 and May 2011 while she was clerk at the council. (Click here for full story).
During this time Cllr Konieczny was a Hughenden Parish Councillor, and is currently chairman.
In a statement to the Free Press he said : "These are my personal opinions and in no way reflect the position of Hughenden Parish council, which has yet to discuss this matter.
"The guilty verdict against the ex clerk of HPC brings to an end a sad episode in the life of HPC.
"Mrs Turner was a much trusted employee by the previous council and the ex chairman in particular, which, in hindsight probably led to her being given too much protection from scrutiny.
"All my attempts at bringing more transparency and openness into council proceedings came to no avail, indeed my persistent questioning, on a website, when all other channels had been closed to me, resulted in a complaint being raised against me for bullying and showing a lack of respect towards Mrs Turner.
"This complaint was repeatedly referred to in Mrs Turner’s trial where I had no opportunity to respond. However this seems not to have affected the outcome.
"The current council has learned lessons from this sorry affair and now, despite having complete confidence in our clerk Miss Charlotte Watts, all accounts and bank statements are reconciled with the chairman or chairman of the finance committee every month, as indeed they always should have been. We have also decided to spend some of our precept on having a very thorough audit annually, rather than the more superficial minimum requirement, which was previously used.
"The parish council will discuss its response to these events at an extraordinary council meeting shortly, and will probably issue a press release at that time. They will also discuss their response to the upholding of the bullying and lack of respect towards Mrs Turner's complaint against me at the next council meeting on February 12.
"I’d like to thank PC Rachel Davey for her professional interviewing of Mrs Turner and the way she handled the case, and our clerk, Miss Charlotte Watts for all her work in bringing this case to fruition."