'Unpredictable' councillor quits days after taking Kingston community job
A councillor who split from his party has quit as a chairman of a neighbourhood committee days after taking the job.
Councillor Tim Dennen was elected chairman of Kingston Neighbourhood, which makes and approves decisions about the town, but resigned a week after attending a meeting on June 13.
At a meeting to find his replacement on Wednesday evening Conservative councillor Dennis Doe was installed as the new chairman after the Liberal Democrats, angered by the decision to install Coun Dennen, refused to field a candidate.
Speaking at the meeting Councillor Penny Shelton said the Tory decision to install Coun Dennen as chairman was something they “might have come to regret”.
On his decision to quit, Coun Dennen said holding the position would be “difficult” given his current situation, but did not explain why he took the job in the first place.
He said: “I plan to remain a councillor for the foreseeable future and serve the people of Kingston.
“I feel I am better placed to serve the community as an independent as I am not forced to block vote with my party.”
In April Coun Dennen stepped down from the Liberal Democrats, but declined to explain the decision until more than five weeks later, citing the party’s direction as the reason for giving up the party whip.
According to fellow Canbury councillor Geoff Austin, Coun Dennen approached the Conservatives in May asking for support to become chairman of the licensing committee.
They did not have enough votes to push through his selection for licensing, but instead helped to install him as Kingston neighbourhood chairman, a job with a further allowance of £11,500 a year.
Coun Austin said he did not know his fellow councillor had quit as chairman until he was told by a council officer.
He said: “Once he realised he could not become chairman of licensing he was keen on the neighbourhood committee job.
“He did not have a job for a long time so it was believed the extra money would help him.
“He is a very unpredictable character so I don’t know why he resigned or didn’t tell us. “I can only guess he has been put under pressure by his former Lib Dem colleagues.”
Did you vote for Coun Dennen? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.