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Councillor picking on another Councillor

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Since becoming a democratically elected  councillor a male member (co-opted) has constantly interrupted to prevent me from speaking and whose behaviour has now become passive aggressive.  His latest comment was "best boys for the job"; I'm one of two female Councillors out of six, and was the only female present at the last meeting.

 Has anyone else experience these types of behaviour?
Any advice or words of wisdom or do I need to continue hardening my skin?
asked by (760 points)

2 Answers

0 votes
There are several sub-nuclear options and then there is the nuclear option [not that it carries any particular weight.]

In reverse order:

3.  Discuss the issue with the chair and explain that this behaviour is inappropriate, causing distress and disrupting working relationships / productivity.  Request chair to monitor and take charge. Informal attempt at resolution.

2.  Check your standing orders - there ought to be something along the lines of "...only one person may speak at a time and that person will be called by the chair to speak..."  If that is the case then whenever interrupted you could stand up, in a bold voice raise a point of order [which should be heard immediately and be considered by the chair] This would publicly humiliate the subject and raise a minuted action.  Semi formal attempt at resolution.

1.  If 3 & 2 don't hit the spot, record all occasions of perceived aggressive or inappropriate behaviour and submit a conduct complaint. Formal procedure.

Be confident!  Be well informed!  Stand by your convictions!

PS - like your login name.  Stand by it
answered by (4.9k points)
Thank you for replying.
The Chairman is the 'henchman' of the individual in question who is also Vice Chair (has been Vice for years & wont step up to Chairman). They appear to be operating together in making life difficult. My Crime is bringing Council issues to the agenda when they want an easy life. To make matters worse I know the Clerk is getting fed up with the antics and constant questioning as neither will attend formal training. Thanks again.
A sadly very common scenario it seems.  Also [I believe] common is the circumstance where the chair is often one of the least 'able' cllrs placed in the position by 'others' who are easily able to manipulate a weak character.

You've got a challenge ahead - the same challenge that disincentivizes many women in politics - macho BS.  If a Cllr is using phrases like 'best man for the job' and the chair is not taking charge, and it is a repeated pattern, you can either shout them down with the point of order approach or go formal.

A determined lady with a [righteous] temper is a truly fearful thing!  Blokes can get all puffed up on a frequent basis so it loses impact but when a lady gets a head of steam on you know there is trouble ahead.
{I know that kind of generalisation based on gender is currently off trend and may be taken out of context by the overly sensitive but it's an affliction I have come to accept - say it like it is}
Sounds like you both have appropriate login names:-) Great fun!
Smiley face emoji backatcha!
And a smiley faced emoji from moi.
0 votes

Report the interrupters and the chair to the principal authority monitoring officer for repeated breaches of the model code of conduct.

The interruptions at meetings amount to not treating all persons fairly and with respect, and improperly seeking  to confer an advantage, or disadvantage, on a person.  Suggesting that some tasks are for boys only amounts to failures to promote equalities and discriminate unlawfully. 

Make sure you get an audio recording of the next meeting.  See here for further info.

See https://local.gov.uk/publications/local-government-association-model-councillor-code-conduct-2020#download

answered by (22.3k points)
Thanks Graeme and noted. This isnt the route I wanted to take but if needs must. I will start pulling together evidence.


 Our next scheduled meeting (annual meeting) is late September. The Chairman requested as late as possible. Heaven's only knows what they'll be planning over the Summer. Thanks again.
Nobody would want to go down that route by choice.   Maybe the first step is tell the late September meeting on the first instance of being talked down, is to say "let me finish" and add that the way you have been treated is unacceptable. Add that if it doesn't stop you will consider taking the matter further, without actually mentioning the monitoring officer.   If that brings about change, all well and good. If not go to my nuclear option.
Thanks Graeme :)

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