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Can a chair be the clerk?

0 votes

I have seen many times the following sentence “ It is illegal for a clerk to take the chair at a meeting.” which I understand.  I also understand that a Councillor CAN act as a temporary clerk.  

However, our local parish council appears to have the Chair acting as a (presumably temporary) clerk.  Is that allowed?  

Is the problem that the 2 roles should not be combined, or only that as a “normal” clerk is not elected and so not entitled to be chair.  

Thank you.  

by (140 points)

1 Answer

0 votes
Whilst there is an obligation to record the minutes of a Town/Parish Council meeting, it does not necessarily have to be the Clerk who does that.  If the Council does not have a clerk due to sick leave or a yet to be filled vacancy, normally a deputy clerk would do it, but I suspect that anybody who is an elected member or employee of the council can do it.  That said what the chair is doing must amount to bad practice even though it is technically permitted.  Presiding over a meeting is a singular responsibility and the Chair must be taking some time out of the meeting recording notes in between talking.
by (25.3k points)
I wholeheartedly agree with Graeme-r as the chair has one specific job at meetings and should not do anything else. It is of course also good practice for the PC to have defined in their standing orders specifically define what the procedure is that "kicks in" automatically when and if the clerk is indisposed, resigns etc etc. This can then be  implemented without the need to call an EO meeting of the council.
I also agree with Graeme_r  We have on a few occasions not had our clerk present due to illness or holiday. Someone on the Council will be take the minute upon agreement from the members present, and this is perfectly acceptable. But I agree that it should not be the Chair. I am the Chair of the Council and on a couple of committees, I could not possibly do both roles properly.

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