A council chief avoided being forced out after a vote of no confidence was thrown out at a dramatic meeting this week.

Cllr Andrew Nye remained in his role as chairman of Cookham Parish Council (CPC) after a motion put forward by Cllrs Michael John ‘MJ’ Saunders and Mike Barnes failed to get support from other councillors – and themselves – on Tuesday.

The motion was submitted at a meeting of the staffing committee on December 29 after the then-clerk Mark Hollands claimed that Cllr Nye had not been in touch with the office following surgery he had to have after being attacked in London by a gang of teenagers.

He had missed several council meetings as a result of the attack and surgery. The meeting was attended by Cllr Saunders, Cllr Barnes and CPC’s vice chairman and chair of the staffing committee, Cllr Mandy Brar.

Speaking about why he had asked for the motion to be put forward, Cllr Barnes said: “During your unfortunate absence, and for a time after that, it was expressed to the council that they – the clerk and the office – had great difficulty in contacting you.

“And that’s I think where this disconnect started. It is regrettable that I think it has ended up with a total disconnect between yourself and office.

“It’s a moot point as to where any blame should be aimed – it’s just happened but it has been of a nature that has caused great difficulties to the working of the council.”

Cllr Saunders said: “I think it would be safe and accurate to say that when the retiring clerk made the statements that he did [at the staffing committee meeting], and are presented in the minutes [of the meeting], it was pretty clear to the members of the staffing committee that there were issues that needed to be followed up.”

Cllr Christine-Ann Jannetta added that she had been aware of the disconnect “growing in intensity” over the past six months, while Cllr Ian Wernham said he had been told the office had found it “very hard” to make contact with Cllr Nye and they “had no idea what was going on”, adding: “Whilst there was obviously lots of sympathy, they felt they needed some form of certainty on going forward.”

Addressing the comments, Cllr Nye said he had emailed the office following the attack saying they would not “see [him] for a while” and that he had spoken to former clerk Mr Hollands and was in “regular contact” with him throughout.

He added: “At no point throughout this whole thing did anybody, except for Cllr Brar, approach me to ask what the situation was.

“In terms of contact I did speak to Mark when I could. I was incapacitated quite a lot and I did make that clear to Mark.

“Mark actually made my life as chair intolerable. I had no support from the clerk.”

He added: “I find it deeply frustrating, because we are all colleagues on this council, and I find it disrespectful and unhelpful and honestly hurtful that nobody at any point directly approached me when they heard these issues were happening.”

None of the councillors backed the motion, including Cllrs Saunders and Barnes, but the vote would not have been carried out even if it had been backed.