Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Raising Hell

I intervened in the Council meeting rather a lot last night to everyone's surprise, including my own!

It was triggered by the reporting of "expert advice" related to the previous topic Standards in public life advising us that whilst we had failed to follow own own rules re standing orders, we shouldn't worry about it, should basically put it down to experience and do it properly on future occasions.

Well, I can only say that I blew my top, the scary way where I remain cool, calm, collected and angry. This was fallacious logic and totally made a mockery of procedure. I certainly wouldn't want that organisation to defend a case of wrongful arrest. "We know now that you didn't do it Mr. Grey, but you have got used to prison now and it would be easier for all of us if you did your stretch..."

I have subsequently seen the advice and they have given a simple pragmatic answer to a simple question, something that did not reflect the reality of the situation, which was somewhat more complex.

I think that there was the assumption by the Town Clerk & the Mayor that it would be nodded through without discussion (when there are logical errors in the clause) and it very nearly was. My point of order words were "Mr. Mayor, what did we just decide?"

I made the mistake at the time of challenging the sentiment (that we should punish Members by punative fine as though we were magistrates) rather than logical fallacy (that Members pay the fine even if they have been given permission by the Chairman), the appropriateness of putting the rule in standing orders in the first place (when we have a perfectly workable document about Councillor decorum that it could have been easily included in) and the procedural incorrectness (that we even discussed it at all beyond being seconded). I knew all this & blew it but then again, I didn't expect the Mayor to not follow procedure, ESPECIALLY WHEN I HAD POINTED OUT THE STANDING ORDER RULE TO THE TOWN COUNCIL OFFICE OVER THE PHONE SOON AFTER I RECEIVED THE AGENDA.

I did make the point last night that if we were to take our Standing orders seriously, I would point out every occasion during the meeting that our actions contravened them.

It was like shooting fish in a barrel! Some Councillors got rather upset at the lack of progress (although I was happy enough to point out ways round the molasses we quickly found ourselves treading in) but I also received praise from unexpected quarters.

{There is an error in the original posting I made, the original mobile phone motion was actually seconded from the floor but I didn't hear it. My hearing isn't top form & it wasn't reflected back from the Mayor or Clerk verbally.)

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