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Rebel councillor apologises – and causes uproar

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CONTROVERSIAL councillor Tom Reynolds’ long awaited “public apology” for the upset he has caused  was duly delivered at the monthly meeting of Frodsham Town Council – and caused uproar.
Agenda item 179 was entitled: “Public Apology – Cllr T Reynolds to make a public apology to Cllrs A Dawson and L Riley.”
But Cllr Reynolds rose to his feet, said: “I am proud to be here” – and promptly accused the council of wasting  public money over the last two years.
Chairman Cllr Judith Critchley banged on her desk with the gavel to bring the meeting to order, but Cllr Reynolds continued to speak.
Cllr Critchley repeatedly banged the gavel and eventually said she was suspending the meeting and walked out of the chamber.
Cllr Reynolds continued to speak, delivering his apology in rhyme. He said:
“Oh dear, what can the matter be,
Frodsham Town Council trying to embarrass me,
For implicating Cllr Dawson and Riley with FTC’s inefficiency,
In renting Castle Park House foolhardily.
To Cllrs Dawson and Riley I apologise…sincerely.
I represent Frodsham people NOT FTC
I promote residents needs NOT bureaucracy.
Respect for ALL groups in the minority,
BUT…focus on ‘family’ Frodsham which is the majority.”
Cllr Reynolds then sat down and Cllr Critchley re-entered the chamber and declared the meeting re-opened.
She then asked Cllrs Andrew Dawson and Lyn Riley if they were prepared to accept the apology in the way it had been given.
Cllr Dawson said it was not what he had been expecting but he did not wish to see the matter prolonged. It was for the Town Council to decide.
Cllr Riley said she believed the issue was damaging to democracy in Frodsham and it had cost the taxpayers many thousands of pounds that would have been better spent elsewhere. She too hoped they could now  “draw a line in the sand.”
Veteran councillor Frank Pennington told Cllr Reynolds it was time to “draw a line” and support the council which had “come a long way” during the last two years.
But Cllr Reynolds, admitting his apology had been delivered with sarcasm, said: “We are not here for ourselves but for the people of Frodsham. I am sick and tired of not being able to speak openly.”
Cllr Pennington said he was not prepared to see the council “dragged down.”
He told Cllr Reynolds: “I am pleading with you to put an end to this.”
Cllr Reynolds said as the request had come from Cllr Pennington, who he respected, he would agree.
The meeting then moved on to the next item on the agenda.
*At its meeting on December 12, the council had ordered Cllr Reynolds to apologise or, if he could not, to resign from the council for the benefit of his constituents. This followed a ruling by an independent panel that Cllr Reynolds had breached Frodsham Town Council’s member code of conduct by showing a lack of respect to Cllr Dawson and Cllr Riley in an email sent in November 2015.
The council also decided Cllr Reynolds should undertake training to understand the responsibilities of being a councillor, the correct procedure for raising issues and the correct use of emails and social media.

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