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Can a committee change the membership of a subcommittee before its annual meeting?

0 votes
We have a Councillor (let’s call him Councillor A) who sits on the Staffing Committee (of which I am Chair) who was elected to the line management sub-committee for the Clerk.
Since Councillor A’s appointment to the sub-committee, three members of his political group (which he leads) have become independent councillors. One of these councillors (we’ll call him Councillor B) knows the Clerk of old, although they were out of touch for many years and only back in contact as a result of her coincidental appointment to the role, just over a year ago.

Shortly before becoming independent, Councillor B blew the whistle on Councillor A for what amounted to conspiracy to dismiss the Clerk, either directly or constructively, he didn’t care which. He gave details of a discussion that had happened at the political group’s monthly meeting, where councillor A had said he planned to replace the Clerk with another staff member. This is ultimately what led to his decision to leave his political group.

Councillor A then went and interviewed staff about their employment and if they were happy and did they have any complaints about the clerk. One staff member said they felt as if they were being encouraged to make a complaint they didn’t have, who then told the Clerk about his behaviour.

The clerk ultimately decided not to make a complaint about this and as a result he was never spoken to (at the clerk’s request).

Councillor A was appointed to the line management sub committee at the first meeting of the year of the staffing committee, following all of this.

Then at an extraordinary meeting of the staffing committee recently, he had a fit and stormed out. He didn’t believe an item should be under the section which excludes public and press. The committee took advice from the clerk and he was outvoted 4 to 2. He accepted that but when two observing councillors who are not committee members were asked to leave he objected. I explained that as they are not committee members they are treated as public and that just because they are councillors, it does not mean they have the right to hear about matters that are protected under the law by GDPR. The Clerk confirmed this as being correct. He ranted and balled for about 30 seconds before calling it a sham and leaving the meeting. He didn’t return.

The following day he had posted on Facebook about how the Clerk is a disgrace and her advice was wrong and she has a lot to answer for. To put it into context the post was mostly a complaint about my chair-ship, which is fine. I’m perfectly happy he has the right to criticise me in the public domain, whether I agree with his comments or not. The comments about the clerk were intermingled with the original post and a variety of comments and actually other councillors from our parent authority of the same political group had made comments as well.
Given that Councillor A clearly seems to have it in for the Clerk and doesn’t appear to have any regard for their rights as an employee, I would like to try and have him removed from the line management sub-committee. I know there has been precedent in law that prevents town councils removing councillors from committees but is there anything we can do to remove him from the sub-committee? Do the rules still apply?

Thanks very much for any advice.
asked by (120 points)

2 Answers

0 votes
My advice is that you may wish to take employment law advice and also do some employer training.

Councillors seem to forget that are all employers and come under employment legislation. They can be taken to a tribunal like any other employer.

It is not the chair that employs but the whole council.
answered by (1.7k points)
0 votes
How awful for your clerk.  Your council has a duty of care for its employees and, although your clerk does not wish to put in a complaint herself, there is nothing to stop members reporting Councillor A's unacceptable behaviour to the monitoring officer.  In fact, I would recommend it before the clerk finds herself unable to cope and resorts to taking the matter to an employment tribunal.  It would not reflect well on the council that there seems to have been nothing done so far to protect its employee from the intimidation and bullying that's been happening.
answered by (950 points)

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