Popular Padiham Mayor faces hearing over ‘racial slur’

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THE popular Mayor of Padiham is facing allegations he made a racial slur against a Burnley call centre worker.

Community stalwart and philanthropist Coun. Bob Clark, a leading figure on Padiham Town Council, was allegedly caught on tape making the remark against a Calico Homes employee during a telephone conversation in March. The complainant, Hafiz Rehman, said the comment left him shocked and confused and reported the then deputy mayor to Burnley Council Standards Committee.

Coun. Clark, who has worked tirelessly for Padiham and made personal donations to many organisations, faces a six-month suspension from duty if found guilty of breaching the council’s Code of Conduct and bringing his office into disrepute, at a hearing at Burnley Town Hall on Monday.

If Coun. Clark is forced to step down from his post as Padiham Mayor it could be his deputy, BNP Coun. John Cave, who takes over the ceremonial role. The allegations relate to a phone conversation on March 20th when Coun. Clarke, of Rossall Close, Padiham, contacted Calico about an elderly resident who had lost his keys.

A transcript of the call shows Coun. Clark referring to himself as the Deputy Padiham Mayor several times and becoming more heated. At the end of the call he is allegedly heard referring to the ethnicity of Mr Rehman to a third party off the phone.

Mr Rehman said he was shocked and confused by the call and claimed it had had a massive impact on him. He said he was left shaking and for the rest of the day could not take another call.

Coun. Clark, a former miner, sent a letter of apology to Mr Rehman claiming he had not meant to be malicious towards him and was “totally ashamed” of his behaviour. However, Mr Rehman did not accept the unreserved and sincere apology and Coun. Clark, who has been on the town council since 2002, will go before the Standards Committee.

If he is found in breach of the Code of Conduct he could be suspended for up to six months, made to undergo training or make a written apology. He said he is unable to comment until after the hearing.

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