Former Petworth Town Council clerk receives apology

Former Petworth Town Council clerk Jean Huggett SUS-150216-172450001
Former Petworth Town Council clerk Jean Huggett SUS-150216-172450001
  • Report labelled council’s affairs ‘woeful’
  • Former town council clerk asked for a public apology
  • Council says it is sorry for ‘any embarrassment’

AFTER a six-month fight, a former town council clerk has finally received the apology she has been demanding.

Petworth Town Council has issued an abject apology to former clerk Jean Huggett, saying the council was concerned about ‘the anxiety and distress’ she had suffered since her resignation last year.

We can assure you we very much regret and are sorry for any embarrassment you have felt.

This comes after a forensic audit report was carried out on the town’s records in October.

The report resulted in damning criticism of the council and its former clerk, who said that by publishing the findings the council had ‘blackened 
her name’.

Former councillors and members of the public rallied to defend her.

A letter written by the council to Mrs Huggett said: “In haste some assumptions were made which proved to be incorrect.

“Of course it is ultimately the Petworth Town Council which was responsible for managing affairs and thus responsibility collectively lies with the previous council.

“We must assure you that at no time was it our intention to publicly criticise you.

“We can assure you we very much regret and are sorry for any embarrassment you have felt.

“We hope we can all carry on doing our best for Petworth.”

The town’s allotment records have now been found after the council claimed they had gone missing.

Jean said: “This letter acknowledges the council made unfounded assumptions which subsequent events proved to have been false.

“Reference is made to the hand-over process not being handled correctly.

“This could have been avoided.

“The letter stated ‘at no time was it our intention to publicly criticise you’.

“Unfortunately this is untrue.

“Allotment files and records were later claimed not to exist.

“Those assertions have now been disproved.”