The Hibbert Files

From: IRIS JOHNSTON
To: 'CllrKing'
Cc: "cllr-jodie.hibbert
Sent: Saturday, 19 January 2013, 17:33
Subject: WWRA meetings

Dear Tom,

I was advised yesterday that much was made of the fact that Jodie was not at the last Residents' meeting and' had not sent apologies'.

 I also heard you were unwell with a toothache otherwise you would have clarified that Jodie has a standard apology until she finishes her University Course.

When you are in attendance you always make that clear if I havent. As I was dealing with hospital issues myself and quite unwell I sent my apolgies too. I am not sure if they were noted.

I know how hard Jodie is working both as a ward councillor and Mayoress and I have seen her on numerous occasions in Westgate wearing all her hats. Spiteful comments by Cllr Moores were reported back to me by a furious WWRA member who wanted me to know and tell Jodie how she is being attacked.

The WWRA should not be used as a political football.

Regards, Iris



22nd January 2013

Dear Mrs Johnston,

Thank you for your email dated 19 January 2013 sent to our Chairman Cllr Tom King and copied to me as Vice Chair and Cllr Jodie Hibbert.

The contents of your email were shown to the members of the WWRA Committee at their meeting last night.  The Committee unanimously decided to reply to you as a group and to strongly rebut your unfounded allegations against our Association. We are deeply disturbed at your misrepresentation of the events at the General Meeting I chaired on Monday.

The last time you attended one of our General Meetings was 25th October 2012, where you gave an apology for Cllr Hibbert, stating she had to attend to a collapsed ceiling at her home. This was duly noted but at no time did you introduce the concept of a “standard apology” to cover Cllr Hibbert’s long-term absence from our meetings due to her University Course. At General meetings since that date, chaired by Cllr King, no such “standard apology” has been forthcoming.

No apology was received on your behalf for the above mentioned meeting as a member of the WWRA or Councillor.

To clarify the truth of the matter, it may be useful for you to know exactly what did take place at the meeting in regard to Cllr Hibbert’s non-attendance.

At the Councillor’s Reports section of the Agenda, Cllr Burgess and Cllr Moores gave their reports.A member of the Association asked where Cllr Hibbert was and if she knew about the meeting’s time and date. I replied that I personally email all the Councillors to remind them of our meetings and their location and that to date, I had not received either a response or an apology from Cllr Hibbert, Cllr Hornus or Cllr M Tomlinson. The member who asked the question was not happy at Cllr Hibbert’s lack of attendance as she said she had voted for her.

As a Committee we are a group of people of all political persuasions and none. But we are united by our commitment and belief in the WWRA and its objectives to serve the community. We try very hard not to be political but have no control over comments or questions from members, who have a legitimate, democratic right to ask why their elected representatives are not present at meetings or seen in their ward.

Given your long association with the WWRA, we are saddened that you would so readily believe the tales from your “furious WWRA member” without feeling the need to check for factual accuracy from any of the many other sources easily available to you.

The Committee also wishes to inform you that at no time did Cllr Moores make any comments about Cllr Hibbert spiteful or otherwise.

In conclusion, you are correct in stating that the WWRA should not be used as a “political football”. It is not a political tool to censure Councillors for alleged actions at our meetings either. The Committee suggests that Cllr Hibbert should perhaps write her own correspondence, citing your informant, to make her complaint against Cllr Moores officially and through the proper channels at Thanet District Council, not the WWRA.

I am copying to Cllr Moores all this correspondence so he is aware of the allegation being made against  him. The Committee would extend this courtesy to any Councillor in the same circumstances.

Sincerely

Lorraine Hambidge - Vice Chair WWRA and Committee

From: IRIS JOHNSTON
Sent: Friday, 25 January 2013, 17:37
Subject: Re: Fw: WWRA meetings
Dear Lorraine,

Thank you for your letter. I am very sorry to note its tone which seems totally out of character for you.

Tom King advised me personally last September that he had Jodie's apologies for meetings.. He said he knew it coincided with her Uni Course. and he was very understanding. Jodie confirmed this to me. During a school break she had a ceiling down and waited in all evening for her landlord to attend. I advised the meeting of this and gave her update.

The member of the public did not name Cllr Moores on this occasion but I have had several complaints about his blog site where he consistantly attacks Jodie citing her non appearance at WWRA meetings.

HE has turned the association into a political footabll. He doesnt mention other Councillors who fail to turn up who happen to be of his own political colour.

I am well aware of his demeanour at meetings when I give apologies or updates from Jodie.

I wrote my letter following a 'furious' resident's comments to me about how Jodie 's absence was remarked upon. I wrote to Tom as the Chairman and cc'd to you to express my concern. Please re read my email.

It is very sad for me as a Former Vice Chairman of the WWRA and before that the Westbrook Residents (30 years)  to see  a hard working new and young councillor constantly attacked. It is hard enough to get young people of all persuasions to enter public life and juggle family and university. Jodie more than compensates in the work she does in the ward and keeps in touch by regular newsletters and surgeries.

On a personal level I  try wherever possible to help the WWRA. and attend meetings. I was in hospital last week and could not attend any meetings on Monday night. I asked for them to given to the WWRA and I will need to check if the person forgot.

The matter is now closed for me and I will not allow this to stop my long association with the WWRA.

Jodie should however have an apology.

Regards, Iris