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Electing a Chair and Vice Chair of the Town Council

+1 vote

Wisdom please. Our Clerk advertised and convened The Annual Meeting of the Town Council (Zoom) choosing NOT to delay it as we could have done given the Coronavirus legislation.

The Council had previously adopted the HCID policy stating that election of the Chair and Vice Chair would be postponed until 'the next public meeting'

It was considered that as the public could attend (albeit virtually) that this meeting would be 'the next public meeting'

The Clerk confirmed that this was 'the next public meeting' and that the election of the Chair and Vice Chair could lawfully proceed.

At this point the Chair put forward a motion asking if Councillors wished to proceed with the election.

Voting was tied, the Chair abstained. The motion fell.

However, the  Annual Meeting of the Town Council then took place without the first item on the agenda (election of Chair and Vice Chair) being completed. The law and the standing order states that this election must happen.

My questions are as follows;

Was there any legal basis to NOT proceed with the election of the Chair and Vice Chair as the Council had chosen NOT to take advantage of the ability to delay the Annual Meeting of the TC and thus the election?

Do we still legally have a Chair or Vice Chair as no election has taken place?

Was the Annual Meeting of the Town Council a valid meeting as no Chair or Vice Chair was elected?

The Town Council has not fixed any further date to elect a Chair or Vice Chair.

Thanks in advance
asked by (140 points)

1 Answer

+2 votes
Hard to disentangle all this! As I understand it, the government's moves made it possible to delay the annual meeting, but not obligatory. Therefore, it seems that your council decided to hold the annual meeting. It appears to have satisfied the usual requirements, such as notice, open to press and public, etc.

But if it was the annual meeting, there wasn't anything to vote on in relation to elections. Once the annual meeting is happening, the old chair and vice chair automatically lose their positions (apart from chairing the election of the new chair). Electing a chair is a statutory requirement, and that can't be changed by council vote. Therefore, the council ought to have proceeded to elect a chair. Having a vice chair is optional.

Having failed to do that, it appears to me that the council is not properly constituted, since a council must have a chair. The council ought to hold another annual meeting, since the one already held purported to be one, but did not carry out any of the requisite business, as it had no chair.
answered by (29.6k points)
Many thanks.

I should have said that the Election of the Chair (and Vice Chair) was the first item on the agenda of the said meeting The Annual Meeting of the Town Council.

We are in quite a mess and the Clerk and the Chair will not listen and are proceeding (illegally?) regardless.

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