A TOWN councillor swore at a Portland resident after a heated public meeting to discuss the proposed council tax precept.
Richard Denton White admitted telling Tony Weldon to ‘**** off’ and described the atmosphere at the packed meeting at All Saints Church in Easton as ‘mob rule’.
Mr Weldon said he approached Mr Denton White after the meeting ended.
He said: “I couldn’t believe what I saw at that meeting. He was rude, aggressive, gesturing, ranting.
“I approached him afterwards to say that his behaviour as a public official in a church was wrong.”
Mr Weldon added: “I was more than a bit fazed by what he said to me. It was wholly inappropriate.”
Mr Denton White admitted he had made the comment directed at Mr Weldon in frustration.
He added: “I was aggressive towards one person in the audience during the meeting, and when I said ‘shut up’ that was aimed at him. He was making physical threats and running his finger across his throat.
“I grew up in Portsmouth and it’s part of the subculture there that we do not take threats lightly.
“Someone else came up to me afterwards and challenged me over what happened and I told him to **** off.”
The town councillor said he had apologised to the Reverend Tim Gomm, who at the start of the meeting had asked all those attending to remember that they were in a church.
But Mr Denton White, who said his father was a clergyman, added: “I appreciate that you should not use bad language in any situation but I don’t think there’s anything magical about being in a church that makes it any worse.”
He added that he was frustrated during the meeting when residents continued to talk over him.
Referring to South Dorset MP Richard Drax’s comments that Portlanders acted with ‘dignity and decorum’ during the meeting, he added: “Some of them were drowning out what I was saying. I do not call that decorum, I call that mob rule.”
He said: “I am a town councillor and in the public eye and I should not be telling someone what I did, but I am human.”
Rev Tim Gomm said: “I did not hear what was said after the meeting but he did very sheepishly come up to me and told me what he said and apologised for it.
“He told me that someone had wound him up.”
A BOROUGH councillor is urging Portlanders to attend the next town council meeting on February 5.
Coun David Hawkins, who represents Tophill East on Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, said the 1,000 per cent precept rise could still go ahead if a new precept is not submitted by February 18.
Town councillor Ray Nowak has proposed that the precept should be set at two per cent.
The precepts from all relevant local authorities will be presented at the borough council’s full council meeting on February 20 for the overall council tax bill to be formally set for the next financial year.