Town clerk suspended following ‘number of allegations’
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015
A town clerk has been suspended after the council received a number of allegations warranting “detailed investigation”.
Gina Lopes, who is also chief executive of Attleborough Town Council (ATC), was this week temporarily removed from her duties “with immediate effect”. The decision was made during a virtual meeting of ATC’s personnel committee on Wednesday (October 21), and was unanimous among its members.
In a statement, Andrew Westby, chairman of the committee, emphasised there was no “implication of guilt” as a result of the suspension.
He said: “At a meeting of Attleborough Town Council’s personnel committee, it was unanimously resolved by members to suspend from duty the town clerk/chief executive officer with immediate effect.
“This decision was reached following receipt of a number of allegations from various residents which warrant further detailed investigation.
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“We would like to make it abundantly clear that this action does not in itself carry any implication of guilt or prejudgment but is solely intended to allow us to expedite a thorough investigation of the allegations raised.”
Mr Westby also highlighted that Ms Lopes’ suspension did not constitute disciplinary action against her.
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“Any further action required, if any, will be determined following completion of the aforementioned investigations,” he added.
“Pending completion of the investigations, the business of the council will continue to be conducted to the best of the abilities of the remaining staff, who we would ask you to support and show tolerance to at this difficult time.
“Thank you in anticipation of your understanding.”
Ms Lopes’ suspension is the latest in a long line of controversies to affect the town council this year.
In February, councillors Ed Tyrer and Taila Taylor were ousted from their committee roles following “bullying” allegations apparently made by council staff.
The pair have always denied the claims and an investigation is ongoing, but months later it was confirmed they had been reinstated.
A parish meeting in March saw 200 people vote in favour of a parish referendum which could ultimately see voters call for the council’s resignation.
And in July, outgoing mayor Tony Crouch slammed fellow members and residents for “seeking to destroy” the council.
Ms Lopes has been contacted for comment.