Last night’s policy meeting of Rayleigh Town Council Meeting had a few items of interest:
What’s the delay with the play equipment?
June Lumley, who sits as an Independent on the Town Council, pointed out that over a year ago the council had collected ?41000 in council tax to pay for new play equipment in King George’s Field. However the money had not yet been used and there wasn’t even a scheme in place – why? The official answer was that the council officers hadn’t had time to deal with this. June asked for action to be taken quickly.
The Town Council Website
Tory Guy Lammert , one of the younger Town Councillors, is leading the effort to get a website up and running for the Town Council. The website address is http://www.essexinfo.net/rayleightowncouncil/.
He explained that there had been a few delays because essexinfo had changed their format, but that he was planning to post a lot more stuff onto the site on Wednesday evening. He also mentioned that it wasn’t possible to get a background colour similar to the Town Council’s green. Lib Dem Bruce Smart asked that details of the website be included in the Town Council’s Newsletter.
Ron Fends Off A “Gagging” Attempt.
The controversial discussion of the night was about the council’s new media relations policy. Tory John Pullen said that it was an attempt to make the council more “professional”. However Lib Dem Ron Oatham objected to the part that said that if a Town Councillor was contacted by the press :
“they should refer the caller to the Town Council Office”
Ron said that he was unhappy about this – this instruction was gagging him, and he didn’t want to be! A debate then began. Some people argued that if you are speaking to the press you should only put forward the official council view. Ron came back and said that as he wasn’t in the Conservative Group he would never presume to speak on behalf of the council. June Lumley said that no member should speak on behalf of the council as a whole but there was absolutely no reason why they couldn’t speak as individuals.
In the end it was agreed that the wording should be redrafted.
No seats for the Public
One of the little sub-committees that the Town Council likes is meeting on Wednesday. It’s discussing “Town Council Accomodation” and it’s open to the public. However it’s meeting at 9.30 on Wednesday morning, when a lot of people are at work. Worse, the meeting place is at the new pavilion in King Georges Field, where there are only a handful of chairs. June Lumley asked what would happen if members of the public did turn up , and the answer was, they’d have to stand. Not very professional….