A CONTROVERSIAL mayor will conclude five years in office following months of council infighting.

In a unanimous vote, Carterton town councillors chose Martin McBride to take over from Lynn Little, with the role due to become official at a meeting in May.

Mrs Little, who will hand over her chains after five years in the role, has recently faced an onslaught of criticism from fellow councillors who have accused her of ‘misappropriating funds’.

During a meeting on Tuesday, a motion was carried that will see Mrs Little face legal action if she does not return £4,835 paid out of the ‘Mayor’s Allowance Account’ to non-charitable activities during 2015/16 and 2017.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr McBride said: “We have a lot of work to do to recover the reputation of Carterton in the wider community.

“There are a number of issues we have to address and I’m looking forward to trying to pull the council together so we’re all moving in the same direction for the residents of Carterton and Carterton itself.”

At Tuesday’s explosive meeting, Mrs Little maintained that she would see her term in office through to the end.

She also continued to deny all the allegations made against her, noting that police and the monitoring officer had both discontinued their investigations.

Mrs Little declined to sit and opened with a lengthy speech in which she maintained her innocence and insisted the matter should have been resolved by the town council.

She was, during her opening remarks, challenged by clerk Ron Spurs before Mrs Little urged him to leave. Mr Spurs declined and remained in the meeting for its duration. 

Mrs Little told him: “You are a clerk. This is my meeting. You leave this meeting.”

Later she urged people to listen to her, saying: “It is imperative my voice is heard.

“It is imperative the other half of the coin’s story is told.

“It is imperative this internal strife is resolved once and for all.”

The payments from the ‘Mayor’s Allowance Account’ referred to included payments for civic dinners and a donation of £4,000 to ‘Ted Little’s Veteran’s Home’, an organisation not registered with the charity commission.

The rest of the cash related to a St George’s Day Dinner at which some guests of Mrs Little were given free entry.

Last month councillors carried a vote of no confidence against Mrs Little.