Councillor quits amid work claims
A COUNCILLOR has resigned from her town council and her local Labour Party branch amid rumours she had a conflict of interests with the local authority.
Susan McDonnell has denied suggestions that she earned £10,000 for work with Peterlee Town Council through her company 120 Consulting, a business and procurement advice service that helps companies save money.
The 48-year-old said others had suggested she had taken money from Peterlee Town Council but insisted she had never been paid for anything.
She added: “When I have had the capacity to do so I have done a lot of work for the council but I have not received any money for it.
“When the town council clerk asked for support or advice, if I had the capacity within my job to offer the time free of charge then that’s precisely what I have done.
“I think the fact that I have been so willing to help her has gone almost bizarrely against me.
“I understand more than anyone does about how transparent procurement processes have to be.”
Ms McDonnell had hoped to stand as a Labour candidate in next May’s Durham County Council elections. She said the timing of the accusations was strange, given that this could hinder her campaign.
She is now considering standing as an independent representative for Peterlee in the elections.
The mum of one, from the Acre Rigg area of Peterlee, said: “Certain people have left me with no doubt that there have been very deliberate attempts to undermine me both personally and professionally and, when challenged, they have chosen to close ranks and alienate me further”.
Ms McDonnell had been a town councillor since 2008 and a Peterlee Labour Party member since 2006 and has worked in procurement for a Government-appointed national organisation.
She said: “I’m extremely angry and upset that people would go to these lengths. This is nothing but a deliberate attempt to have a go at me.
“As a prospective county councillor it would not bode well for remarks like that to be circulating about me.”
Ms McDonnell said she felt her position in both organisations was “untenable” but wants to continue to help the community.
She added: “If I can do that as a county councillor as a result of the 2013 county council elections that is what I will do.
“But I think it is a travesty if as a result of this I don’t stand as a county councillor.”
A town council spokeswoman said she could not comment until after the next council meeting, on August 20.
David Taylor-Gooby, secretary of Peterlee Labour Party, said: “I am sorry that Susan felt she had to step down.
“We will have to select another candidate for the county council election and fill the town council seat.”
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Weather for Peterlee
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 6 C to 7 C
Wind Speed: 33 mph
Wind direction: North west