Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Council Meeting Confusion

I missed last month's meeting to drink Fairtrade wine - and I almost wish I'd had a bottle and a straw with me last night!

I left early, along with most of the public observers, because of the grass cutting tenders. Six firms have tendered a bid for taking over the grass cutting around Hay for next year, and at first it seemed that the cheapest bid was the preferred one. The bids had been put in sealed envelopes so that the councillors wouldn't know which firms had bid.
Then Fiona Howard objected, and asked how the councillors could properly scrutinise the bids if all they had to go on were the amounts that the firms wanted - they might want to choose which firm would do the best job, rather than the cheapest job, and for that they needed to know who the firms were.
Steve Like objected that it should have been decided by the Estates and Fishing Subcommittee anyway, and then brought to full council for agreement.
Rob Golesworthy said that he didn't want to disclose the names of the firms because of commercial confidentiality, but he would pass a list round as he didn't want the public to know the firms involved - at which point one of the ladies in the public seats said that they'd better leave, then, so the council could have a proper discussion, and I left with them.

Now, the grass gets cut every year, and the councillors around that table have many years of experience of being on the council. This should have been a routine matter, dealt with very quickly - but they were acting as if they'd never done it before and didn't know what the procedure was.

At the beginning of the meeting, there was a minute's silence for Peter Lloyd, who died recently. His death has left an empty place on the council, and another empty place has been left by the resignation of Ellie Spencer, which is another sad loss - though she does so much in Hay that I wonder when she finds time to sleep!
Nigel the clerk said that the County Council had informed him that they couldn't fill both places at the same time, so they were looking to fill Ellie's place first, and Peter's later - I wasn't entirely clear on the procedure to be followed, but somehow it seems that the matter won't be finally sorted out until September!
Apparently they have already advertised for a new councillor, but they must have done it very discreetly because I had no idea that Ellie had resigned.

Now, again, councillors have resigned before, and councillors have died before - yet there was confusion around the table about whether the members of the council should start approaching people they thought might be interested to get them to join the council, and where they should place adverts for the position. They all must have done it before (apart from the two new ladies, of course), so why were they all so confused?

At any rate, there are two seats on the council that need to be filled, so if anyone is interested, they should get in touch with the Clerk....


Ex-Student said...

It is popularly supposed that goldfish have no memory of what they swam past 20 seconds ago. This latest report of Hay's Town Councillors suggests that they could give the apocryphal goldfish a run for their money when it comes to short term memory loss. Oh - wait a minute, though - isn't short term memory loss a symptom of chronic drug abuse in one's youth? Maybe that's why they can't remember how things should be done, even though they've done them time and time again in the past...

Not an ex-student said...

Yet again the volunteers get a kicking!!!! Come on ex-student, if you think you can cut the mustard with your great memory, apply to become a councillor. I understand there are 2 positions to be filled.