THE mayor and deputy mayor of a town council shattered by claims it is dysfunctional have resigned amid a motion of no confidence.

Mayor of Northallerton councillor John Forrest and deputy mayor councillor Claire Palmer resigned prior to the virtual meeting on Monday, when seven fellow councillors tabled the motion, which was voted through.

The motion said: "The duty of this town council is to serve the people of Northallerton; we joined so we could play a part in helping to fulfil this. But our experience has shown us that this council, in the way it currently operates, is unable to serve the people of Northallerton effectively: it is, in our view, dysfunctional. This is perfectly illustrated by the council’s deafening silence during the current coronavirus crisis with no services provided.

"Issues relating to the council’s employees have developed over a number of years; they have dominated business in the last year and are still not resolved. This is having a significant impact on the effective operation of the council. A critical Internal Audit Report has been received highlighting the lack of financial control within the council. Several suppliers have not been paid within their terms of business recently, resulting, in some cases, with final demands and threats of legal action being received by the council.”

Councillors have put forward a six point plan for improvements.

Cllr Palmer told the meeting it was regrettable she had not had sufficient opportunity to prepare a full response having only been able to access the motion from 4pm, but said she was confident she had acted to progress all matters of the council in the correct manner.

She added: "In recent weeks the implications of Covid-19 has created additional problems that could not have been foreseen including restricted access to various avenues the council would normally have available. Councillors have been given full reports, including some of the matters outlined in this motion, and it is interesting to note that despite requests from Councillor Forrest in relation to accessing our social media page this could not be established, yet the meeting for this agenda has managed to be posted.

"Taking also into consideration that Councillor Forrest is, like all of us, on lockdown but unlike the rest of us currently alone at a time when he is already vulnerable due to the loss of his wife, I find it extremely disappointing that he should be subjected to this so close to the end of his term.

"Based on the timing of this motion, so close to the end of the term; and that both Councillor Forrest and I have made it clear neither of us wish to continue, it has left me feeling this is an attempt to besmirch us both. Knowing some of the situations creating obstacles in the background; that at this time cannot be discussed in public, and have proved extremely difficult to progress despite our best intentions I cannot help but feel this has become personal."

A vote will be held on a new mayor at the council's annual meeting on Monday. Cllr Forrest did not want to comment at this time.