Suspended town clerk looks on as conduct committee decides there’s no way it can handle his bullying and harassment complaint for now

Erbie Murat, Wisbech Town Council clerk

Erbie Murat, Wisbech Town Council clerk - Credit: Archant

IN a debate that had councillors recoiling in embarrassment, Fenland Council conduct committee abandoned judgement on a complaint from suspended town clerk Erbie Murat.

Whether the abandonment is temporary or permanent it was difficult to say as councillors queried why the complaint was even before them at this stage.

Mr Murat sat on the public benches at Fenland Hall watching the debate unfold as councillors decided if they could realistically take to task the very two councillors who had suspended him.

The suspended town clerk of Wisbech had used the conduct committee of Fenland to complain about Wisbech Town Council leader David Oliver and his deputy Councillor Jonathan Farmer. In Mr Murat’s words they had “bullied, harassed, intimidated, threatened and victimised” him

However, as Ian Hunt, Fenland‘s solicitor, pointed out that at the heart of the grievance were “very specific employment matters” and thereby lay the difficulty.

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He suggested councillors might go into private session to look at a confidential email about the case or, in public session, “discuss broad relationships or broad matters”.

Mr Hunt suggested a way forward if members felt it “imperative” they debate the issue but none looked too comfortable with any of it.

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Independent member George Ridley said: “From what I understand Wisbech Town Council is conducting their own internal investigation.

“Councillors Oliver and Farmer have withdrawn completely from involvement so until that investigation is completed; I can’t see where we as a committee can go.”

Councillor Michael Humphrey was far from happy at discussing the “detail and complexity” of the case whilst chairman Councillor Fred Yeulett also thought it premature to be debating it.

He felt any decision by the conduct committee could “prejudice any decision of the town council so perhaps we should not pursue this further in case we prejudice that,”

It was deferred.

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