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0 votes
Hi Folks,
Long time reader, first time poster.
I have recently joined a Parish Council which is deeply factional and dysfunctional. Governance is non-existent and many of my fellow councillors have no knowledge of any policies or principles.
The one faction is headed by the Chair who is incredibly Presidential in his manner and action, ignoring resolutions and making unilateral decisions to alter the dates of meetings etc. Supported by the ex-clerk with whom there was a familial relationship he has long tried to isolate other voices on the council. This includes blocking the calling of a Finance Committee Meeting where after the Annual Meeting his supporters do not have a majority.
We are now preparing for the budget setting and again there has been an attempt to block any kind of scrutiny in committee by raising the matters at an EGM of full council.
However our new clerk, in post for less than a week, after being contacted by the other two ctte members has agreed that there should be a Finance Ctte meeting before any meeting of full council.
There are a whole load of questions that I could raise in relation to previous governance failings but the question I have here is... Does the chair of the council automatically become chair of any ctte on which they serve? My automatic feeling is that the election of a chair should be done at the first meeting of said committee following the deciding of its membership at the APM. However there is nothing in standing orders about this.
The Finance committee meeting has been officially called by the Chair of the Council but is listed on the summons as the chair of the committee. He has informed the clerk that this is his position. However the ctte has not met since the APM. The agenda does not list the election of chair as its initial item. The clerk probably can't countenance that there hasn't been a meeting in this time and taken him at his word!

So whilst I don't want to question the legitimacy of the meeting being held - it is really necessary - there is a need to actually start following proper procedures and actions. But is this something that is incorrect?
by (180 points)

2 Answers

0 votes

Certainly not. 

Only a megalomaniac would even want to!  But it sounds like that is what you have anyway. Spreading the load and achieving a broad spread of influence / experience is the essence of democracy. 

It may be the case that SOs provide for a PC chair to be an ex-officio member of any / all committees but certainly not the chair. 

First task of the committee would be to seek candidates and vote to instal a chair (similar to how election of PC chair would be first order of business at APM)

Not sure if there is a specific reference but you can look that up for yourself. I’d be pretty sure to win a bet that says there isn’t a reg that validated the situation you describe. 

by (21.9k points)

Either someone thinks your PC chair should be chair of the world - or they don’t like the way I’ve presented my reply.
I know I’m on the right track when the down votes start appearing from the usual suspects.
You must be seeing something that no-one else can. You don't have any down votes...
There was - and now there isn’t. They do go up and down with each vote.
My comment was 12hrs ago when there was a -1, now there isn’t which means there was a + vote
+3 votes
If you're using the model standing orders, this is covered in 4d(vi).

4d. The Council may appoint standing committees or other committees as may be necessary, and:
vi. shall, after it has appointed the members of a standing committee, appoint the chairman of the standing committee;

The Finance Committee would be a standing committee.
by (53.7k points)
What a nightmare. We have the Chair and Vice chair on each committee (as members)  but the Various Committees hold a Chairmans election each term to fill the chairman of the Committee role. Are there no Terms of reference for the committees ? I can send you some or point you to our website - we are not great but it could help ?
Rusty the dysfunctional and factional comments you make are oh so true about many PCs.  Ultimately such situations are down to Cllrs themselves who either don't educate themselves or resign as they don't need the hassle. In the absence of any informed opposition dictatorial senior Cllrs and clerks simply fill the vacuum. Let's face you get bad Councillors and bad clerks.   There is no easy answer although I choose to fight. Good Luck

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