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Old Chair holds a 15 minute public session prior to election of chair

0 votes
At our annual parish council meeting, the first item on the agenda was the public session.  It was queried that the first action should be to elect the chair.  The clerk and outgoing chair disagreed saying that the annual parish council meeting had not started yet (as the agenda was - public session / election of chair etc etc.) and hence the old chair could chair it until the 'proper' meeting started.  Subsequently the chair was re elected (not unanimous).

To me, this is not right.  The councillors have been summonsed to the meeting starting at 19.00 and the first action should have been to elect the chair.  We now have held a pre - non annual parish council meeting, followed by the proper meeting.  Any thoughts on this as I now have to write to the clerk (again) explaining my concerns.
by (2.5k points)

2 Answers

0 votes
My thoughts are that as effectively all councillors are newly elected cannot  to be councillors until all of their documentation of acceptance have been registered allowing them to vote. The outgoing chair is the only one to still hold office at the AGM to enable the meeting to be held and the first and only duty they have is to oversee the election of a ( new or existing ) chair. Any other business should follow on from that election of the new chair and not before.
by (22.5k points)
For Interested:
Are you suggesting candidates for chair election can vote for them self?

Here’s the thing that I can’t seem to find a definitive answer to , I don’t think they can since an existing chair standing for chair again, cannot chair the vote nor stay in the room for the vote.
So, apart from currently being the chair, the current chair is just a candidate, just like any other candidate for election for the role.
So if the existing chair has to leave the room, it must follow that every candidate must leave the room - ergo, no, they can’t vote for them self - nor should they even be in the room.
In such an election then it is good practice for it to be a written secret vote thereby not requiring anyone to leave the room, with the clerk recording the votes cast and announcing the successful candidate. In the case of a split vote then the outgoing chair would have the casting vote even if it was for themselves.
Round again - they do!  I have a copy of the SLCC guidance, but I have not seen the requirement for the chair to leave the room when the vote takes place elsewhere.  Mind you, I have not looked far, as other issues are pressing.
Mentorman   Sounds like a good idea and was used up to 5 years ago it seems.
I’m trying to find where it was I read that the chair has to leave the room - I think it was SLCC Clerks Manual but can’t find it now.
The secret ballot sounds like a good means - if the clerk is trustworthy but we often see posts which indicate a lack of confidence or perception of favouritism which could make a secret ballot vulnerable to abuse.


It’s p117 2023 SLCC Clerks Manual - I knew I’d seen it recently.  “…they should not preside or remain in the room or vote, if they are a candidate in the election (for chair.)…”

So if  chair that wants to be chair next year has to leave the room, then so must any other candidate - according to the SLCC guidance, or at least that’s how I’ve read it.
+1 vote
I don’t think that would be a hill I’d want to die on.
First business of the agenda is election of a chair.
It rather hangs upon whether you consider public session to be the business of the agenda or a precursor to the business of the agenda.
I prefer the precursor interpretation personally.
by (13.3k points)

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