Author Topic: WHN article and letter - Town Councillors accused of low attendance  (Read 2362 times)

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Offline baldy

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Sometimes, some people just write utter nonsense.
The letter from Molly Buckland in White Horse News claims that some meetings of the town council have a low attendance.
She is basically talking total tripe.
Out of 16 members, it is quite normal for 1, 2, 3 or 4 members to not be able to attend full town council meetings if they have other commitments or are ill. All other small councils are the same.
As for the "planning committee" (actually called the "Highways Planning and Development Committee") at the town council, this normally has about 7 members plus the Mayor and Deputy Mayor normally attend as well as ex officio members.
The town council is only a consultee in the planning process because the district council is the planning authority which actually makes the planning decisions. It does not really matter if the "planning committee" of the town council is sometimes reduced down to about 4 or 5 members. I can assure everyone that the few councillors who actually know what they are talking about make sure they attend always (or that enough of the other experienced councillors are in attendance).
This is perfectly normal and there has never been a low attendance that has meant that the committee is not quorate (ie. too few members to be allowed to take a decision).
The article talks about district councillors having meetings which clash with the town council meetings as well .....
But this is complete nonsense .... and I wonder why she said this at all.
I am the town council's longest continuously-serving member and the I am the district council's longest continuously-serving member in Westbury.  As such, I am concerned at the suggestion that I might miss Westbury Town Council meetings if there are clashes of meetings at the district council.
In fact, all full town council meetings and its committee meetings are on Mondays (with rare exceptions). District Council meetings are always on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays. I cannot ever recall a problem with clashing council or committee meetings.
Where there can be clashes is when the town council's various ad hoc working groups set meetings during the week which clash with district council meetings. These clashes are discussed at the time of setting the dates and any district councillor would be saying that if certain dates are selected then they might not be able to attend. As a result, such working groups normally avoid the clashes where possible.
In any event, such clashes do not stop the meetings going ahead. The busy district councillor would catch up on matters by talking with the other relevant members afterwards. Working groups do not take significant decisions anyway, as they only forward ideas and recommendations to full council or committee meetings anyway ... which is where the decisions are taken.
Cllr Russell Hawker
« Last Edit: October 23, 2008, 13:52:11 pm by baldy »
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