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0 votes
Whilst at a meeting one of the councillors present could not decide how to vote so the clerk advised how to vote IE abstain. This vote involved the Clerks husband who is a councillor as to whether or not he remained as allotment officer.
by (140 points)

4 Answers

0 votes
I consider it to be a part of my role to provide advice and guidance to members, which could include clarification of the right to abstain if they are unable to decide for or against a motion. I would limit my comments to the three options, without suggesting any one over the other two. I would not offer such advice on a matter in which I was personally involved.

As a matter of interest, what difference, if any, did the Clerk's advice make to the outcome?
by (53.3k points)
I voted against a resolution because I hadn't been fully informed and asked for my vote to be recorded and was warned by the Clerk after I had voted that I might want to reconsider my request and withdraw it as the Clerk claimed that electors wouldn't be happy with my vote and I might be in danger if I was named voting against the resolution. I was shocked and amazed as I had already voted and asked for it to be recorded. It is my understanding that the Clerk has no right to interfer with or try to reverse a councillor's vote and request that their vote be recorded. Despite the Clerk continuing to argue against my decision I insisted that the my vote be recorded.
That goes way beyond what I consider to be reasonable behaviour for a Clerk.
I am not sure its right to vote against a resolution because of the reasons you provide.  In this case the you can propose a motion to defer the decision and hence to allow time for more thought and or request further information.  This advice can come from the clerk if asked, but also from the chair and other councillors.  If all the councillors disagree with you and your motion fails, then to abstain with reasons then sounds a good way forwards.   Where was the chair in all this discussion?
If this is true (and you have given me no reason to doubt it) then if, as a clerk, behaved in this way I would expect to told to mind my own damn business.  You have a perfect legal right to demand a recorded vote and an experienced clerk should know that.  I'm with DavetheClerk.
0 votes
It’s possible you might be approaching this problem from the wrong perspective.
If there is a Cllr who lacks the capacity to arrive at an independent decision on a given topic that might be of greater concern than the clerk providing advice.
by (21.7k points)
0 votes
Simple solution casting aside any assumptions of clerk involvement ( or suggested) is for the councillor to abstain from voting and requesting that the reason for their abstention is recorded in the minutes being " insufficient information provided upon which a decision could be made" and this should form the basis for ensuring that that information is provided in future. If enough councillors register reasons for their abstention it would ensure that the public are aware that the councillors are doing their job correctly and why they cannot.
by (27.1k points)
0 votes
A Clerk can offer advice to any Councillor before, during and after a meeting. The Councillor makes the decision whether or not to accept that advice. There is no obligation to do so and the Clerk has no power whatsoever over any Councillors decision on which way to vote on anything. Sometimes however an inexperienced Councillor ( there are thousands of them) have no idea what to do and often seek advice. An experienced Clerk will often see when a Councillor may be in need of good advice and give it accordingly.
by (590 points)

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