A Couple Of Surprises





There were a couple of surprises tonight at Annual District Council.

First of all the Conservatives nominated Jack Lawmon as vice-chairman of the council, even though he’s only been on the council for 1 year.

Secondly they went out of their way to place Labour Councillor Jerry Gibson as chair of the Review Committee, voting down Michael Hoy from the Green Party who held the post last year,. This is an important role , to scrutinise what the Conservative majority group do. So the person whose job it is to scrutinise the Tories only has the post at the gift of the people he is supposed to be scrutinising….. Hmmmm….

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  • Councillor Chris Black – you asked, I believe, whether the Motion should have been subject to Notice? The reply from the Officers was that it was a minor amendment. The Council’s Constitution does not permit such a Motion to be put without Notice even for a minor amendment but there is an even longer list in the Constitution where this Motion did not qualify to be put without Notice.

    Do you agree?

    What action can be taken now in relation to the question you raised and to which it would appear the answer contradicts the Council’s Constitution.

    As a you have been a Member for 30 years we will be obliged to have your advice on what can be done.

  • John , I think there are three issues here:

    1) Should the chair of the Review Committee always come from the largest opposite group. My opinion is that he or she should usually come from the largest opposition group but could on occasion come from a smaller opposition group.
    2) Was it appropriate in this case for the Tories to deliberately offer a Conservative place on the Review Committee to an inexperienced Labour councillor (albeit one is experienced in other areas) and then force him through as chair instead of letting Michael Hoy, the obvious choice , continue? I think it was darn well not appropriate. It destroys the credibility of the whole review system in Rochford.
    3) The third question – which is your main question, is whether this is constitutional. I am still doing some reading on this….

    To help me John, is it your understanding that the only previous council decision on this was at the meeting in April 2007?

  • This is what the Council wrote BEFORE the Annual Council Meeting.

    “In response to your specific question about the chairmanship of the Review Committee, paragraph 6.2 of the report is not inaccurate; the thrust of the Council report of April 2007 was that the Review Committee should no longer be chaired by a member of the majority party, as it had been up until that time, given the change to an Executive/Cabinet system with Portfolio Holders making executive decisions. Council considered it inappropriate that such decisions should be scrutinised by a scrutiny committee chaired by the majority party making those decisions at Executive meetings.”

    “The Council minute, however, states that the Review Committee will be chaired by a member of the opposition party. There would therefore be a need for a motion to be moved for Council to agree an amendment to this policy.”

    The question remains as I have put to you above; was that Motion required to be put under Notice (which was not given) and if it was, given there is no exemption for Notice in the Constitution, what can be done about it please in your long experience on the Council?

  • Cannot find a previous thread ‘ Something Curious on the Agenda ‘ but it was explained in the Echo ( 27/05 ) – yet another Tory rebel is
    why he was listed outside the mainstream list , I think that makes 5 over the last year or so – OK 4 , as one opted back into the fold….

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