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Chairman of Hughenden Parish Council resigns
THE chairman of Hughenden Parish Council resigned tonight after giving an impassioned speech on why he can no longer continue in light of recent events.
At a Hughenden Parish Council meeting tonight Cllr Tony Konieczny spoke to the council and a packed public gallery.
The former clerk of the parish council, Lynne Turner, was found guilty last month of ten counts of fraud by abuse of position after transferring £28,200 of council money into her own bank account.
She will be sentenced on Friday.
Just before the court case the Standards Board Committee at Wycombe District Council found Cllr Konieczny had bullied Turner whilst she was in position at HPC.
Tonight Cllr Konieczny said: “This last month has been unusual in the history of HPC. It started with an example of why justice should be seen to be done.
“The hearing, which ruled that I had treated the former clerk, Lynne Turner, with disrespect and had bullied her, was held in camera, thus denying any public scrutiny of their methods.
“Their findings, however, have been widely published. The initial complaint was raised to protect a woman who was to be the subject of the second unusual event in the last month.
“This same Lynne Tuner, former clerk of this council, was found guilty in short order by the unanimous view of 12 impartial members of the jury.
“Those of us who sat through the trial were not surprised at the defence strategy that was used, and by whom.
“We also saw just how much credence can be given to her honesty and trustworthiness.
“I mention these facts to demonstrate how much credibility can be given to my alleged victim.”
He goes onto say the complaint took 21 months to come to a hearing which has had a toll on himself, and his partner, Lin Smith.
Mrs Smith sent her letter of resignation to the parish council at the end of last month, as she was also a parish councillor.
He added: “I have been placed in an impossible position, for if I ever need to persistently question to get at withheld truths, I will be vulnerable to the cry of bully being raised.
“Fighting for the community has exhausted us and we have nothing left to offer. It is time for a change.”
When he finished talking there was a round of applause and pleas for him not to resign.
Member of the public, Carole Palmer, thanked Mr Konieczny for his work.
She said: “Mr Konieczny, we are saddened at the loss of two of our most popular and experienced councillors but we should like to commend you for your courage and integrity in fulfilling your care of duty to your ward and the wider parish and to express our heartfelt thanks to you.”
Paul Cawte, who is former chairman of Hughenden Valley Residents Association, further said Mr Konieczny is a friend of his who he admires.
He said he is the last person he would accuse of bullying.
Roger Hewitt said he believed the standards board should be criticised by the council and said he suspects their judgement has been flawed.
The council meeting carried on with an acting chairman, Roger Beavil.