Sunday, March 11, 2007

I have in my wallet a piece of paper...

...which I took to the Mayor's Ball last night but had no reason to unfold.

It is page eight of the Morley Town Council current Standing Orders, Standing Order number 31.

At the end of any speech a member may, without comment, move “that the question now be put”, “that the debate now be adjourned” or “that the Council now do adjourn”. If such motion is seconded the Town Mayor shall put the motion but, in the case of a motion “to put the question”, only if he is of the opinion that the question before the Council has been sufficiently debated. If the motion “that the question now be put” is carried, he shall call upon the mover to exercise or waive his right of reply and shall put the question immediately after that right has been exercised or waived. The adjournment of a debate or of the Council shall not prejudice the mover’s right of reply at the resumption.

(Note: Where a meeting is adjourned the subsequent proceedings are part of the original meeting and no new notices or agendas need to be issued except a notification to members not present of the date of the continuation of the meeting.)

The language is rather arcane but note the bit I have emphasised. If the Chairman of the meeting has colluded in the move towards stifling debate at meetings behind closed doors rather than genuinely believing that the motion has been sufficiently debated, then he is not chairing the meeting impartially and is probably guilty of misconduct.

If, on the other hand, he thinks the motion has been sufficiently debated after 71 seconds of comments and with a Councillor still wishing to make a speech, he is probably guilty of a serious error of judgement.

On the other, other hand, he may have simply forgotten that he had this authority in which case he is guilty of being rather unlucky...

If you haven't got a clue what this post is about, type "Morleygate" into the search box at the top left.


Crushed by Ingsoc said...

But how can his misconduct be proved? No one can tell the deepest darkest workings of his mind...
It would be interesting to see a test case on this issue.

Ian said...

Crushed, Of course they can't. But if someone has colluded with others in dark corners then it isn't a terribly well-kept secret, especially if they aren't too good at getting their story straight under pressure.

Many of the independents attend a pre-meeting in order to come to some dort of concensus. See my post Meetings, Bloody meetings from march 2006 for more on this.