Row over lights funding escalates

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MONTROSE Community Council and its former treasurer John Dempster are unlikely to meet to “discuss the way forward” in a row over Christmas lights funding.

The offer was made at the community council’s monthly meeting last Thursday, but Mr Dempster this week said the matter was closed as far as he was concerned.

He resigned last month after eight years as treasurer when chairman Peter Davies accused him of acting with “no authority” in organising a public meeting to form a group to manage future funding .

Mr Davies said in an e-mail that he was “totally out of order” in taking action, although Mr Dempster maintained that he had acted as instructed at the group’s January meeting.

In a reply to Mr Davies, he said: “O.K. you fix it. Kindly accept my resignation from Montrose Community Council effect immediate.”

In a prepared joint statement issued at the community council meeting last week, the members said Mr Dempster had advised them that those already interested in forming a committee were members of the previous community council’s fund-raising sub-committee.

The statement said: “It was advised that, to benefit from the council’s pledge to match fund-raising pound for pound the group would have to be part of a recognised organisation, i.e. Montrose Community Council or Montrose Together.

“Mr Dempster was asked to talk to the fund-raising group to find out more and report back to the rest of Montrose Community Council with his findings. He was not asked to hold a public meeting nor would anything be agreed to until he reported back at the next meeting.”

This week Mr Dempster said he has not yet received an invitation to meet with community councillors but he would be unlikely to accept.

He said: “What part of ‘you fix it’ doesn’t he [Mr Davies] understand? If that’s what they need the community council will have to get on with it. It’s time he showed his exemplary leadership qualities and as he has the authority why doesn’t he call a public meeting? After all, it’s publicly subscribed money that’s being dealt with.

“Why do they now need me to sort it out? They can go ahead and sort it out themselves. For me, that’s the end of it.”