Sacked town clerk unlikely to learn his fate before Christmas as tribunal continues dismissal hearing in December

Nene Quay, Wisbech. Picture: Steve Williams.

Nene Quay, Wisbech. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

It could be Christmas – and the second anniversary of his suspension and later sacking- that former Wisbech town clerk Erbie Murat learns if a tribunal backs his unfair dismissal claim.

An eight day employment tribunal hearing at Huntingdon ended last Wednesday but both sides will be back from December 1 for three more days of submissions.

The tribunal, headed by an employment judge and two lay assistants, will then adjourn before announcing their findings later that month.

Mr Murat had been town clerk for more than five years until January of last year when he was suspended following a disagreement with council leader David Oliver and his then deputy Councillor Jonathan Farmer.

The former clerk has always insisted his suspension was because of alleged whistle blowing although this, ultimately, did not form part of the reasons for his dismissal on three counts of gross misconduct.

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A special meeting of the council authorised his dismissal following a disciplinary hearing and later an appeals hearing.

Mr Murat had been town clerk since June 2008 but even if he wins his unfair dismissal he will not return to his former post. Earlier this year the town council appointed Terry Jordan to the post, on a permanent basis but with a revised contract.

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Those giving evidence at the tribunal in support of the town council’s position were Susanah Farmer (deputy town clerk), Cllr Oliver, Mr Farmer (who was recently disqualified as a councillor), Cllr Vic MacRae (the former mayor) and Councillor David Wheeler.

Cllr Wheeler chaired the appeals panel whilst Cllr Tierney was chairman of the disciplinary panel which recommended Mr Murat’s dismissal.

By coincidence both Mr Murat (Ind) and Cllr Tierney (Con) are contesting the same vacancy on Fenland Council brought about by the disqualification of Mr Farmer.

Other candidates lined up for the by election on October 16 are Josie Ratcliffe (Lib Dem), Andrew Hunt (UKIP) and Kathy Dougall (Lab).

In 2011 Mr Farmer (Con) polled 364 votes, a 170 vote majority over Labour: Lib Dems were third with 58 votes.

It is the second by election fought by Mr Murat this year- in Roman Bank in May he came fourth in a seat retained by the Tories following the resignation of ex planning committee chairman Phil Hatton.

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