Town Clerk ‘harassed’

A number of emails sent to Caistor Town Clerk Helen Pitman are “almost harassment,” the Mayor said yesterday (Thursday, November 12, 2015).

Mayor Carol Mackenzie was giving her Chairman’s Report at last night’s town council meeting.

“Helen Pitman has been receiving a lot of emails which are almost harassment,” she said. “She does an excellent job for this council and puts in more than her full-time hours.

“Any extra work takes her away from the business of the council.”

No more information was given about the nature of the emails.

The Mayor’s comments were not believed to be directed at the Citizen.

5 Comments

  1. Jonathan Holt

    I hold my hand up to contacting the Clerk on 10 November with an email which I thought fairly straightforward to answer concerning ratification of 2 sets of important Planning minutes and the minutes of the Wold Retreat meeting on 24th Sept not being posted on the TC website by 10th November. I received a partial answer in 3 separate emails and then a final answer saying that The Clerk actually had NO record of the CTC comments sent to WLDC regarding the planning application, as she was on holiday at the time and “somebody else” had sent them on her behalf.She suggested the only source of information was to contact WLDC planning to find out what Caistor Town Council had said about the application, which seems a strange way to go about recording CTC meetings.I feel sorry to have caused her such distress but does it really take 4 emails to reply to a simple request for information – 1 would surely suffice ?
    Regarding the information not being available from the Clerk I eventually received a copy from WLDC- it had been sent to WLDC by Cllr Mackenzie.I would have thought that the Clerk’s Main role in the Council is to set accurate agenda’s and to take accurate minutes of meetings and keep copies of all correspondence -for which I believe she is paid in excess of £20,000 per year which should pay for a lot of administration.She has also told me that she deletes all emails older than 3 months, even on major planning issues as she receives too many emails – I currently have 13000 emails on my computer as far back as 2006- does the Clerk need a new computer in order to keep important records for the Council??
    Regards Jonathan Holt

    Reply
  2. Michael Stockwood

    Frankly I am appalled at the naivety of Cllr Mackenzies statement relating to the alleged harassment of Mrs Pitman by e-mails from the public, should not the public be encouraged to be proactive and show an interest in the wellbeing of their town?

    Mrs Pitman has a history of complaining about e-mails, I too was accused of harassment by Mrs Pitman whilst serving as a councillor and with the encouragement of a number of councillors Mrs Pitman submitted a formal complaint to the Monitor Officer and I quote ” it is alleged that Cllr Stockwood through a series of e-mails, behaved in a manner that was both bullying and harassing in nature towards Mrs Pitman in her role as Clerk to the Town Council” the decision was as follows ” The Assessment Sub Committee acknowledged that there had been a high volume of correspondence between the complainant and the subject member. However, the Sub Committee did NOT consider either the tone or the content of those e-mails provided demonstrated offensive behaviour or behaviour that was a personal attack on the Clerk. The questions raised by the complainant were pertinent and as such could reasonably be regarded as legitimate challenges” This clearly demonstrates the mindset of Mrs Pitman and the reticence of the council to engage with the electorate.

    It is also my experience that Mrs Pitman has great difficulty in replying to a strait forward question with an explicit answer without numerous e-mails.

    Michael Stockwood

    Reply
  3. Shona Wall

    Editor’s note: I assume there is a wider background to this article that most people know nothing about – myself included. I hope it does not deter anyone from contacting Caistor Town Council if they have reasonable concerns.

    Reply
  4. Chris Carver

    A few years ago I sent an email direct to various councillors. I was told in no uncertain terms that all correspondence had to go through the Clerk. At that time the position was part-time, now it is full-time but the quality of minutes has deteriorated and correspondence with the public is obviously a chore.

    Also of note is the fact that this is the second occasion recently when a councillor has used the forum of the Town Council meeting to make unsubstantiated claims against members the public. They should be prepared to put their money where their mouth is or keep it shut.

    Reply
  5. Heather Grant

    This development is extremely disturbing. Surely councillors should be required to answer questions posed by the people who voted for them. What have we got in Caistor now – a Politburo? The other question is – if they are quibbling about repairing playground equipment, why on earth does a town the size of Caistor require a full time town clerk? Laceby, Brigg, Tealby all have part time clerks, Brigg, in oarticular is quite a lot bigger than Caistor. The financial costs of employing full time is considerable when you take into consideration NI, pension contributions, holiday pay etc, how can this be justified. I don’t remember any consultation on this! To whom should I address this question – the town clerk?

    Reply

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