Friday, February 25, 2005

Standards in public life....

We seem to have a bit of a problem with our Town Council, of which I am a Member. We talked about a suggestion last meeting to fine anyone whose mobile phone went off in a meeting, £5 to the Mayor's charity. I asked that the fine bit be struck out as I thought it was illiberal to force someone to pay a charitable contribution under duress, after all we are not Magistrates (actually, a couple of us are, but they are not on the bench in Council meetings). My suggested amendment fell for want of a seconder.

Anyway, subsequent to the meeting, we were sent amended standing orders from the Town Council Office (despite the motion not being seconded & being "for discussion") & furthermore, we have a Standing Order that prohibits discussing any change to Standing Orders at a meeting once proposed or seconded anyway!

The correct procedure is to propose & second, defer, then continue discussion at the next meeting. Previously the constitutional committee has dealt with these matters but in my opinion this could have simply been added to a "guidance for councillors"
document without any kerfuffle.

Hopefully we don't bring ourselves into disrepute by breaking our own rules as we could be accused of maladministration which hardly bodes well for our Quality Council status.

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