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Westbury councillor quits over feud
A long-serving Westbury town councillor has resigned after a row with fellow members, whom he has accused of feuding and trying to control the committees.
Bill Braid, 77, who joined the council 13 years ago, claimed it had become “like a headless chicken with no clear direction”.
The Independent councillor for the Ham ward also said councillors had acted to deny Cllr Stephen Andrews the chairmanship of the Laverton Trust Committee, due to a grudge.
Mayor Sue Ezra said she was too upset by his claims to comment.
Mr Braid said: “Westbury has been very good to me, which is why I joined the council, to give something back. I hadn’t intended to inflict another by-election on the public – I was just planning to retire in May – but I felt I couldn’t stay as it is.
“I don’t know what their agendas are, but Sue seems to want to be in charge of everything and I feel sad having to say that, as she has been a friend for 30 years.
“She is a member of several working groups, taking up the space of another councillor, when as mayor she could attend them anyway.
“I am also concerned that minutes of some meetings, like the management committee, aren’t being circulated to all councillors.
“We need to know what is going on. You can’t run a council like that.
“And despite all the great work which was done by Stephen Andrews on the Laverton Trust Committee, he was overlooked for the post of chairman.
“I think several councillors are bearing a grudge.
“We all upset each other from time to time, but life is too short. Move on.”
Cllr Russell Hawker has responded to the comments, claiming they are “wrong, muddled and/or false”.
He said: “This is the second time he has resigned off the council in a huff, because he has lost a vote relating to the Laverton. Last time was in January 2003, when he let the whole town down by resigning mid-term as mayor, a totally un-precedented event.”
Mr Braid, who served in the Royal Navy in his youth, is the latest of four councillors to resign in the last year.
He moved to Westbury from Scotland in 1967, with £45 to his name, leaving the family’s farm to the care of his father and brother.
He volunteers for West-bury Lions and also serves on the committee for the Leigh Park Community Centre, which is currently under construction.