March 8 2014 Latest news:
West Suffolk chief reporter
Monday, February 24, 2014
A “heartbroken” town clerk has said she will not appeal against a shock decision to sack her from the post after 20 years of service.
Sue Brotherwood was suspended from the role of Sudbury town clerk on December 23 on full pay, because of a “procedural” matter.
The town council carried out an internal investigation lasting almost two months before Mrs Brotherwood was informed last week that she no longer had a job.
Sudbury mayor Adrian Osborne confirmed the town clerk was “no longer employed by the town council” but he said she had 14 days to lodge an appeal.
But last night, Mrs Brotherwood, 61, said she had been “dismissed” from her position as town clerk and would not be appealing against the decision.
She said: “I now realise that I would not be able to continue to work for the town council with the same enthusiasm and loyalty, even if I were given the opportunity to do so. The whole matter has been extremely stressful for the council as well as me and my staff.”
The details around Mrs Brotherwood’s departure have been shrouded in secrecy and Mr Osborne said the council could not make an official comment until the 14-day appeal period had elapsed.
He said he understood people were curious as to why the long-serving clerk had lost her job, but added: “We have to be fair to everyone involved and ensure that the correct procedure is adhered to. It would not be fair to make any comment at this stage.”
Mrs Brotherwood, who has taken legal advice, was not specific about the reasons for her departure.
But in a letter sent exclusively to this newspaper, she said: “Unfortunately for me, documents and important papers which I know existed before my suspension can no longer be found.
“Things made it impossible for me to provide proof on matters raised to the council by a whistleblower, who in a stressed and shocked state I was unkind to. I acknowledge this and regret it happening.”
Mrs Brotherwood, of Melford Road, is adamant during her 20 years in office, the town council has never suffered any financial loss through her actions.
She continued: “I know through careful management I have saved thousands of pounds over the years. I have never gained personally and I always had the best interests of the town council’s staff at heart.
“I acknowledge that some actions were not in line with town council policy, and again I regret this.”
Mrs Brotherwood said it had been an honour to serve the town and to lead such a “wonderful dedicated team of staff”.
Her former deputy, Jacqui Howells, has stepped up to the role of town clerk.
Mrs Brotherwood added: “I feel heartbroken at leaving such lovely people. I hope they can find the strength to carry on and give as much support to the new town clerk as they always did to me.
“I would like to thank everyone who has worked with me and helped make my position of town clerk so enjoyable.
“It was a wonderful job – very demanding and stressful but rewarding as well.”