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Residents rally to defend former Hughenden chairman in bullying row
RESIDENTS have rallied to defend the former chairman of Hughenden Parish Council, Tony Konieczny who was found to have bullied shamed parish clerk, Lynne Turner.
Turner was sentenced to nine months in prison two weeks ago after being found guilty of defrauding HPC of £28,200 by transferring money from the parish accounts into her own bank account between August 2010 and May 2011.
Mr Konieczny resigned from HPC on February 12 after being found by a Wycombe District Council standards panel in January of bullying Turner, in the months before she resigned in June 2011.
But last week ex-councillors, David Jarman, John Rogers and David Davies , who were on the former council before the election in May 2011, wrote saying the cases weren’t linked.
They said: "We consider it is quite wrong for these two cases to be linked in the way they have been by Mr Konieczny."
This sparked a backlash from several residents who wrote to the BFP to back Mr Konieczny and called for him to be reinstated as chairman.
Hughenden Valley resident Roger Hewitt said the former councillors should be "thoroughly ashamed of their letter in which they once more try to vilify former Cllr Konieczny."
Mr Hewitt said they should not be blaming Mr Konieczny but looking at how the council ran at the time when Turner was carrying out her fraud.
Jayne and Huw Richards from Hatches Lane, Great Kingshill called for Mr Konieczny to reconsider his resignation as under his chairmanship "an open, inclusive and transparent parish council" has evolved.
They added: "The previous council's handling of matters that were of immense interest to our community, our parish and its 8,500 residents, and in some instances detrimental to them, required someone to be on the side of the residents. That someone was Mr Konieczny."
Current councillor Brian Swain also gave his support to Mr Konieczny and asked why the former councillors did not pass on details of the discrepancy in the accounts to the new council in May 2011.
Mr Konieczny emphasised he wanted the standards board hearing [regarding the bullying] to be held in public, but this was not allowed.
He said the bullying claim was used in Turner's trial in their defence which to him suggests a link.
Mr Konieczny added: "Readers will also have noticed that the three ex-councillors have expressed no regrets for staunchly standing by this felonious former clerk, who deceived them."
WDC spokesman, Catherine Spalton, said it is normal for standards hearings to be held in private session at Wycombe District Council.
Meanwhile Cllr John Moorby wrote and said he worked as a warden at HPC for 22 years and left in 2007.
He said "the illusion that she [Turner] was a victim is a joke" and Mr Konieczny was simply serving his community.
He added: "In fact Mrs Turner, then my line manager, bullishly defended herself with curt response in any situation that arose even if her reply was inaccurate."
His partner, Jenni Martin said she was an employee at the council from January 2001 to March 2008.
She said: "For all that time my line manager was the clerk, Lynne Turner, and those seven years can only be described as turbulent.
"She was an extremely unpleasant and difficult person to work with."
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