11:12AM, Friday 06 May 2016
The departing leader of the Royal Borough has ‘categorically denied’ allegations of bullying following the announcement he is to step down from the council’s top post.
Cllr David Burbage (Con, Bray) revealed his decision on Friday, April 22, stating on his personal blog that he wanted ‘to give others the opportunity to succeed as the council’s leader’.
The Advertiser understands his resignation was prompted by a complaint made to the borough’s cabinet by Royal Borough managing director Alison Alexander.
In an email, seen by the Advertiser and sent to cabinet members on Monday, April 18, Ms Alexander accused him of using ‘bullying behaviour’ towards council employees and ‘unfair treatment of and disrespect of the wider workforce’.
The Advertiser understands that following Cllr Burbage’s decision to step down the complaint against him was withdrawn. And in a statement issued on Tuesday, Cllr Burbage refuted all claims of bullying behaviour.
He said: “I have dedicated myself through thousands of hours to secure the best outcomes for residents of the Royal Borough and have been ably supported by fellow members and officers of the council in doing so.
“The lowest council tax, Sunday library openings, weekly bin collections are some evidence of our joint efforts. And ‘Residents First’ remains the vision for this local council.
“But if, over the last nine years serving residents, I have upset anyone, I do apologise.
“And I categorically deny any allegation of ‘bullying’ – which had not been made before.
“I have only ever sought to work with an enthusiasm and a passion for improved public services.”
Cllr Burbage said he has been overwhelmed with kind messages and tributes.
He added he would fully support his successor and will continue to serve residents in his Bray ward.
On Thursday Cllr Burbage chaired his final cabinet meeting as leader.
After thanking councillor colleagues and officers and listing his administration’s achievements he quoted former Labour prime minister Tony Blair’s departing remarks: “Some may belittle politics but we who are engaged in it know it is where people stand tall.
“If it is, on occasions, the place of low skulduggery, it is more often the place for the pursuit of noble causes.”
The Conservative Group plans to elect a new leader on Monday.
Cllr John Story, chairman of the Conservative Association, refused to disclose any of the nominations for the leadership.
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