11:04AM, Tuesday 31 May 2016
A pledge to stamp out bullying in the Royal Borough has been demanded by campaigners in a new petition.
The drive was launched by the Maidenhead Liberal Democrats, who are pushing for all Royal Borough councillors to sign a promise to ‘ensure the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead is free from bullying’.
The document was sent out on Thursday, May 19, by Cllr Fiona Hewer, chairman of Cookham Parish Council, who said she had been prompted to act after a survey released early in May showed low morale among council staff. She was also concerned by a letter to the Advertiser from a member of the public who felt bullied when speaking at council meetings.
The borough’s former leader Cllr David Burbage (Con, Bray) recently resigned from the role after an allegation of bullying by managing director Alison Alexander.
“I found it very alarming that in our local authority these things are being talked about,” Cllr Hewer said.
“As Liberal Democrats, our fundamental way of doing things is to be free, fair and open, so the Maidenhead Lib Dems got together and said we would like to try and put things right so residents can feel confident that they can take part in democracy without fear of being bullied.”
Her feelings were echoed by Royal Borough councillor Simon Werner (Lib Dem, Pinkneys Green), who, at the time of writing, was the only councillor contacted to have signed the pledge.
He said: “I think it’s quite a serious issue and I think there are some senior councillors who are quite inappropriate at times in the way they speak to members of the public and officers.”
The new borough cabinet member for HR and legal, Cllr Lisa Targowska, responded, saying: “I have a zero tolerance for bullies in my personal life and in the council. I don’t think we have a bullying culture, but it will be on my radar and I will be making sure council staff are happy and doing their jobs to the best of their ability, because what they do is fantastic.”
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