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Removal of a chair

0 votes
There are several councillors and a large percentage of the public who are very unhappy in the chair, there have been unilateral desicions, secretive meetings, information not givenand bullying tactics used, can we ask for the resignation of the chair
asked by (160 points)

5 Answers

0 votes
Hi Carry,

This has been asked on the forum on a regular basis, so apologies for the short response:

You can ask for their resignation, You hold a vote of no confidence, but none have any legal effect and if the Chair wants to stay in place, then they can do so.

If councillors spoke to the chair discreetly and asked, this might help the Chair find a quiet way out, rather than an a very public attempt to oust the Chair, that legally would fail, unless the Chair decided to walk away.

Never underestimate the determination of a Parish chairman to try hold onto their position!
answered by (6.8k points)
...and the appointment is only for one year, so you should have an opportunity to select somebody else next May (COVID permitting).
+3 votes
If the chair is making unilateral decisions it should be reported to the principal authoriity monitoring officer and external auditor. He or she has no legislative right to do that. All decisions must be ratified by resolution, not by decree from an individual.
answered by (14.7k points)
+2 votes
Sounds rather toxic. I always suggest the Councillors ask themselves how their conduct is when they pose such questions just to ensure they’re not throwing stone in glass houses and all that.

As others have suggested you can raise a vote of no confidence. If the vote goes against the Chair then one would wonder why they’d still wish to continue given they don’t have a majority. However I too would wonder the same if only a couple are against the Chair, perhaps they may consider their position as well.

That said you could always stand yourself or nominate someone else at the end of their term.
answered by (5k points)
+1 vote
If it's Gloves off time and you have the stomach for it, I believe two councillors can call a public meeting to discuss a particual subject, which I believe could be specifically the 'General behavior of the Parish Chair' your large percentage of supporting public would probably attend to watch the blood bath and it would be a very brazen Chair Person who would be prepared to succumb to that.

I'm open to correction if wrong but I think that is the case.

However a PC Chair is not an easy role, it often requires a firm hand which is not always appreciated by other Cllrs and especially so the public who often think a Public Parish Council Meeting is akin to free for all busines meeting and not a Meeting of Councillors held in public.

Also the PC Chair is in my experience very often the one who puts in more, often unappreciated, parish work than any other Cllr both high visibility and below the water line on not only projects but continuity of keeping the council ticking over with the Clerk. The amount they do is not always appreciated until they are gone. I wouldn't have the chair even if presented to me on a gold plate.
answered by (850 points)
The chair does not have elevated powers over and above other cllrs apart from the right to unilaterally call an extraordinary meeting or extraordinary general meeting. With that in mind it would be interesting to know what keeping the council ticking over with the clerk amounts to. The chair is not the Clerk's assistant or line manager.
The meeting you refer to could be an EGM or alternatively they could organise a parish meeting - not a parish council meeting but the chair of the PC is usually first in line to chair it.  Which would be going into the Lions den.
Agreed re Lion's Den but if there is extensive public support and this high percentage of supporting public attended the extraordinary meeting it would likely to be a sobering and mind focusing situation and I did say if you have a stomach for it.  Four years soon passes anyway and if already partway through a term 'feet and vote' come to mind.
Re. Line manager comment, I don't think I even remotely implied such. However it does seem customary for Clerks to use the Chair as an inititial sounding board on some things and the Chair to do likewise with the Clerk as the Proper Officer.
0 votes
How many people are several?
answered by (250 points)
...and where does the Clerk sit in this?  As a Clerk, I'd be having a quiet word with the Chair, although I accept that some people don't find that easy.
This is a Parish Council that has had 4 Clerks in 4 years (since the current Chair has been in post).  Their Vice Chair has just stood down.  The Chair has surrounded herself with mainly close friends and her/their family members, partly by blocking other people's co-options.  She appears to court conflict and controversy, does not seem to recognise or accept that she may be a big part of the problems and unrest in this particular parish, and that her resignation might enable the parish council to re-connect with the residents, and in turn help them to regain the trust and confidence of the public whom they serve.  The MO has been, and still is, involved but has limited powers.
Goodness, did the vice chair leave due to the behaviour Chair?

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