Leamington councillor outlines his reasons for temporarily staying on at Warwick District Council - despite moving to the south coast
After last week's debate, Cllr Jerry Weber has responded to the criticism and says he will step down in May
At last week's full council, meeting pressure was put on a Cllr Jerry Weber to resign his seat on Warwick District Council following his move to the south coast.
We reported the story, with comments from all sides of the argument (click here to read the full story).
Cllr Alan Boad (Lib Dem, Leamington Lillington) said: “Given that he relocated some months ago to the south coast and that he is now living closer to Cherbourg than Leamington it is not surprising that declarations of councillor’s interests now show that Cllr Weber now has no property or employment interest in Warwick district.
“Does the leader of the council agree with me that although it is legal, is it morally right for a now absent councillor to vote on the budget tonight and the council tax level that local residents will be required to pay?”
Cllr Weber said his continuing presence on the council is down to Covid - under normal circumstances he would have resigned at least a year ago.
Afterwards, Cllr Weber wrote a letter to the Courier and Weekly News about his reasons for staying on - and why he will stand down in May. Here is his letter in full:
Letter by Cllr Jerry Weber:
Cllr Boad’s question to the council leader on my position as a councillor is electioneering pure and simple.
He has been aware of my position for nearly a year. Why has he chosen to make it an issue now?
In December 2019, I moved from Leamington for work purposes; having lived, brought up my three children and worked in the town for over 30 years.
We moved just before Covid-19 came into our lives and it was my intention to resign in May 2020, to ensure that a by-election coincided with the Police & Crime Commissioner election, thus saving the council unnecessary expense.
Once the pandemic took hold and we went into lockdown, all elections were cancelled.
I felt it was important to ensure there was a full complement of councillors in Clarendon. I have been honest and upfront about my position from the outset.
A leading LibDem member and Clarendon resident wrote to me in October last year asking about my position. I responded: “All five group leaders are aware of the situation and agree that I should remain as a councillor for the present.
“I can assure you that as soon as an election becomes possible, I will step down and allow the democratic process to take place.”
At the council meeting on February 24, Cllr Boad agreed that I was an experienced, fully-engaged councillor and an asset to the Council. He raised the possibility that I might be considering remaining as a councillor beyond the elections in May without any evidence to support this comment.
Even though he knew my position, he chose to spread this misinformation. I imagine he thought it might enhance his party’s electoral prospects.
I believe that public service should go beyond petty party politics. This has always been my aim. particularly at this time and I have worked hard and consistently to serve residents in Clarendon and the District as a whole.
Online meetings have meant that I have been able to be fully engaged in the council’s demanding agenda. such as the climate emergency and Covid recovery.
Thankfully, we are seeing the beginning of the end of Covid and there will be elections in May. I will, of course, be stepping down in order for the democratic process to take place.
I know politicians always say this, but it has been an honour to serve my community, both as a councillor and as a local activist for more than 25 years.
We have seen a transformation in local politics since 2019. This has not just been down to Covid.
There is much more political co-operation in Warwick District and I particularly commend Cllr Day for his inspirational leadership.
The district is a lovely part of the country and I look forward to visiting soon with a stroll down the pedestrianised Parade.