ASHFIELD District Council leader John Knight has vehemently defended his deputy John Wilmott against allegations that residents did not have adequate protection when travellers illegally occupied a site in Skegby.
Liberal Democrat leader Jason Zadrozny, whose Sutton North ward includes Skegby, denied that this was a personal attack on Coun Wilmott - but at a full council meeting on Thursday evening, he asked Labour leader, Coun Knight, if he had confidence in his deputy’s ability to carry out his role, which includes community protection.
Coun Zadrozny said that when travellers broke on to Healdswood Recreation Ground last month, the council’s Community Protection Officers (CPO) were away on a training day.
He had asked that the CPOs were around at school closing time because the site is close to Healdswood infants’ and nursery school.
Coun Zadrozny said: “Coun Wilmott had approved for every single CPO to be on a training course at Rampton.
“There is a question about who would think that is a good idea?.”
But Coun Knight countered by saying he ‘emphatically, unconditionally and unreservedly’ had faith in Coun Wilmott to carry out his duties.
He said: “I have been in politics a long while and this is the lowest shot I have seen.
“What you have done is slander an individual by making him responsible for something he did not have direct responsibility for.
“What you have done is discredit a councillor who after 20 years is probably the most dedicated councillor I have ever come across. Even by your bizarre moral compass this is pretty low.”
Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat councillor Rachel Madden praised Coun Zadrozny’s action on the day travellers arrived.
She said: “There were rumours that there were going to be fights amongst the teenagers and youngsters so we needed protection.”