Saltash mayor reported after 'racist' remarks

Saltash Town Hall and Councillor Jean Dent Image copyright Google/Saltash Town Council
Image caption The comments were made at Saltash Town Hall by Mayor Jean Dent

A town mayor has been censured after repeating what has been described as a "racist" remark.

A complaint regarding the conduct of Saltash Mayor Jean Dent was made by a fellow town councillor.

Councillor Averil Pinckney said the remark made before a meeting at Saltash Town Hall was "discriminatory, terrible and hurtful".

Mrs Dent said the comment was made in a "private conversation" and Ms Pinckney "took it out of context".

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Ms Pinckney insisted it was of a "racist nature" and made a formal complaint to the standards department at County Hall in Truro.

The incident was investigated by a monitoring officer who ruled that the place and timing of the conversation were "inappropriate".

The report by Cornwall Council said the comment was made "in a public building within earshot of others" and "there were no grounds for the use of the comment".

'Not my opinion'

Mrs Dent was found to have breached the Code of Conduct for Saltash Town Council and was told to apologise to Ms Pinckney and ordered to attend diversity training.

The mayor rejects the accusations saying she had "overheard the phrase spoken by an elderly gentleman and condemned it".

She added: "I was talking to a colleague about the way that language has changed over the years, what was deemed acceptable in years gone by, no longer is. This was a private conversation in which I was appalled at the remark and it was certainly not my opinion."

She said she has written to Ms Pinckney to apologise twice and will be completing the diversity training as soon as she can.

Fellow Saltash Town Councillor John Brady has written to Mrs Dent asking for her to resign over the incident.

Mrs Dent said she will not be resigning as mayor as she "still has work to do for the council and the people of Saltash".

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