PENKETH Parish Cllr David Simm has announced he is standing down from his position as Chair, less than two weeks after issuing a public apology for a foul-mouthed outburst which was posted on social media.
In a letter issued by Parish Council clerk Mrs Lois Burey he wrote:
“Dear Residents and Penketh Parish Council,
“As of today, Friday 30th October, I am standing down from my position as Chair of Penketh Parish Council. I am handing over the responsibility to Ray McKay (Deputy Chair) who will make a great Chairperson until the AGM in May 2021. It is with a heavy heart that I hand-over this position, which I have had the honour of holding for almost 18 months.
“It remains my greatest honour to serve our community, where I was born and have lived for 59 years. I am a proud public servant of Penketh and, before that, my Country in the Armed Forces. My tenure as Chair was originally from May 2019 and would have naturally concluded in May 2020, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all responsibilities were extended until May 2021. This period of the Covid-19 pandemic has been very demanding for all involved including introducing new processes, staff retiring and securing temporary staff, safe working methods, online meetings and the individual needs of the Penketh residents and I commend the Parish team for all their work.
“Throughout this period, I have tried hard to ensure that the Parish Council rules and standing orders have been followed. However, much hard work and achievements have been undermined by the actions of a minority, who have spent months making inaccurate statements and unfounded accusations over social media and undermining so much positive work in our local community. Unfortunately, much of this has been focused on myself as Chair and led to my recent collapse and illness. It is important to note my health has suffered throughout this period but is now improving. I do hope by stepping down as chair that this small group of individuals can rethink their actions and approach and that we can all move forward, working together to serve our community.
“There have been many changes this year during unprecedented times. Our General Manager and Clerk retired early after long careers with the council. In these uncertain times, the council had agreed to take urgent action to seek help on a temporary basis. As chair I was keen to step up to ensure the stability of the Council. At the last Parish Council meeting (14th October 2020) these temporary appointments were confirmed, and we welcome both staff members to Penketh. This means some backlog of work is being progressed I would ask that everyone allows time to work through the backlog.
“In the time I have been Chair, I am proud of what we have achieved, despite some opposition. The replacement of play equipment at Greystone Rec was finished in July this year. This stands as one of my proudest moments, seeing how happy the local families are using this new equipment. It was a pleasure to complete this project and something I will feel proud of for many years to come.
“I have also taken great pride in the commitment of the Penketh Parish Council to our local community, particularly in supporting the local Covid-19 support volunteer group, providing provisions for those in need since March. The action taken by Ray McKay, the Vice Chair and myself in offering our time as volunteers alongside many others in our local community has been an honour and I hope that this will continue as long as required.
“I would thank our local community again for all the well wishes over the past couple of months and I really value the ability to help with ongoing case work as your elected Parish Councillor. I appreciate your continued support in making a full recovery, my service to the community has been a great healer for me and the case work gives me great satisfaction.
“Thank you once again for all your kind messages and cards, and to the people of Penketh for electing me and for the honour of having been your Parish Council Chair.
Cllr David Simm