SCANDAL-RIVEN Pembroke Dock Town Council, facing allegations of staff bullying, has been hit with another bombshell, with the shock resignation of Mayor Jane McNaughton this afternoon, November 14.

Cllr McNaughton has made her surprise resignation, both as mayor and as a town councillor, due to what she sees as constant pressure from two opposing camps over the issue of dealing with the alleged bullying.

The town council, facing allegations that three as-yet-unnamed members bullied its staff, saw town clerk Sarah Scourfield, deputy clerk Amanda Dillaway, and admin assistant Mandy Hart walk out of the Pater Hall-based meeting on November 2, during a vote of no confidence in those accused of bullying them.

The staff members walked following comments made by Councillor Phil Gwyther during the debate.

The alleged bullying of council staff has already led to the resignation of Clerk Sarah Scourfield, despite an impassioned plea for her to stay, and a unanimous vote of confidence in her.

That unanimous vote of confidence included the alleged bullies.

Mrs Scourfield is the second clerk in recent years to have resigned due to alleged bullying; former clerk Moira Saunders left in 2014.

Cllr McNaughton felt her need to remain impartial as mayor had led to her being heavily criticised.

She said: “I can’t take it anyone, no matter what I say they don’t listen, it’s like I get criticised for not doing anything, and yet I have to remain apart and not get involved, and then I get accused of doing nothing.

“I’ve told them many times we need to get someone involved from outside and they’ve ignored me.

“No matter what I say it seems to be wrong; it’s a job I don’t get paid for and I get flak if I do and flak if I don’t. It’s like we can’t do anything right; it’s ‘how do you sort this out?’ ‘How do you fix it?’”

Cllr McNaughton added: “The main issue was all this pressure because things aren’t moving along; between the public telling me I’m not doing my job and certain councillors telling me I’m not doing it fast enough.

“Emotions are running high as it is; it’s just too hard now, it’s not fun being a councillor or mayor now; it’s out of control at the moment.

“We can’t seem to get down to it, some people won’t even meet the personnel committee; even if you do believe you have nothing to apologise for, at least meet.

“If they are found ‘guilty’ of something what sort of punishment is there? You can’t exactly put them in jail.”

She added: “I’ve had to remain impartial to all of this. It’s gone to the point where I just can’t take it anymore, it’s affecting home life as well; when you have to keep your mouth shut, it just builds and builds and builds before it comes out.

“It’s a culmination of everything, I’ve got to the point where there’s only so much I can hold in.

“The town councillors need to realise they are the employers of the staff and if the staff have problems it needs to be dealt with properly.

Husband Andrew, a former town councillor, said: “I supported Jane’s decision, I’ve seen the other side of the stress; she’s ‘piggy in the middle,’ with one side saying this and the other side saying that, and she’s criticised for not making a decision.

“It’s a disgrace this has gone on so long, and to lose two staff over the issue; I just think it’s put a real shadow over the council.”

Deputy Mayor Cllr Gordon Goff is expected to take over the role of mayor at the next meeting of the town council this Thursday, November 16.

The town council’s personnel committee has recently stated: “Pembroke Dock Town Council is currently investigating the ongoing issues of alleged bullying within the council.

“The personnel committee has been tasked with trying to resolve the issue internally in order to ensure that our staff are protected and that any similar cases do not arise again.”