Town's deputy mayor quits

THE deputy mayor of a Suffolk town has claimed infighting and the forthcoming mayor-making played a part in his shock resignation from the prestigious position.

THE deputy mayor of a Suffolk town has claimed infighting and the forthcoming mayor-making played a part in his shock resignation from the prestigious position.

Paul Hopfensperger stepped down at the full meeting of Bury St Edmunds Town Council after speaking of his frustration over a series of decisions made on Wednesday night.

Despite operating the authority's website for more than a year, the councillor was told he was now banned from being in charge due to a possible breach of the code of conduct because he runs an internet service provider company.

His plans to create a management committee to appoint a new town centre manager for Bury and to look at the council's relocation - due to the proposed sale of the Manor House Museum - were also scuppered, he claimed last night.


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Mr Hopfensperger told the EADT: “I just sat there totally dumbstruck at the decisions that were made - I don't think some members knew the consequences of what they had done.

“I am extremely disappointed - myself and mayor Mike Ames have had a great year together but the last few weeks, with the upcoming mayor-making, has just become silly season.

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“I am sure it has some bearing on what has happened lately. I just feel I should step down and let them get on with the infighting.”

Mr Hopfensperger said he would stay on the council as an ordinary member and that he would still be honoured to be voted in as mayor in next month's ceremony.

His sudden departure was greeted by shock by colleagues who paid tribute to his work as the deputy mayor over the last 11 months.

Mr Ames said: “Paul has always had the interests of the town and the town council at heart and he proved to be an excellent deputy for the past 11 months in office. He has served the town and carried out his civic duties without fault.”

Mr Hopfensperger claimed that he had offered to step aside from the running of the council's website and allow another company to take over.

But council clerk Linda Sherer - who discussed the matter with the Suffolk Association of Local Councils - said they had a duty to ensure no code of conduct was broken whereby a councillor was allowed to earn money from the council.

Mrs Sherer said: “The decision had nothing to with Paul personally as he did a very good job on the website.

“But we had to be careful with regards to the code of conduct and I had to give all councillors correct legal advice before the decision was made.”

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