Sunday, July 16, 2006

Some interesting minutes

At the last Council meeting, Council leader Chris Roberts ferociously attacked both of the opposition whips (Cllr Glover for the Conservatives, and Cllr Webbewood for the Lib Dems (who does he whip?)) for their alleged behaviour at the General Purposes Committee (GPC) meeting the previous day. Essentially, he suggested that the whips stamped their feet, and went on to give the impression that both had behaved like small children.

The problem we have with this is we've seen the minutes of the GPC meeting. According to them it only lasted three minutes. It was opened at 16:30 and closed at 16:33. Given that Cllr Roberts chaired the meeting and probably spent 30 seconds opening it, followed by another 30 seconds closing it, that would leave Cllr Glover and Webbewood with about a minute each to behave like children.

We have to say, we're really very impressed that they managed to wind him up so much, and so quickly in two minutes that he felt compelled to mention it in a full Council meeting (it's taken us a few months to just get a reponse from someone from the Eltham Mafia). Cllrs Glover and Webbewood, if you'd be willing to share your secret do let us know.

There is of course a wider issue here and that's the apparent short fuse of the leader of the Council. If - as it seems - he lacks the patience required to look after small children, perhaps it's best he avoids school visits in the future?


Anonymous paul Webbewood said...

General Purposes Committee (GPC) exists primarily to nominate councillors to serve on various committees and outside bodies. The membership currently comprises Chris Roberts & Ray Walker (Lab) + Eileen Glover (Con). There are various deputies nominated in case the actual members can't attend. The Liberal Democrats aren't entitled to a voting member but under the Constitution can nominate someone (currently myself) to attend and speak at GPC. I also have the right to refer matters to Full Council if I am not happy with GPC decisions.

The first post-Election meeting of GPC took place in May. Ray Walker chaired it in the absence of Chris Roberts. There were a large number of appoitments to make and although there were disagreements about these, the meeting was reasonably harmonious and uneventful.

A number of appointments were deferred until the next meeting as Labour was not ready to make all its nominations (this was fair enough given the number of slots to fill), This meeting on 13th June was chaired by Chris Roberts who arrived late without apology and was clearly looking for a row.

One of the bodies to which we were asked to make appointments was the Green Chain Joint Committee. Eileen Glover was keen to nominate herself to this partly because her ward contains a large amount of the Chain. Chris Roberts refused to discuss this and tried to move straight to a vote. When I politely asked to exercise my right to speak he denied that I had any such right. There followed a brief and rather undignified spell when all three of us were talking loudly at once. Chris then flounced out with the faithful Ray Walker at heel. His behaviour was so far outside the reasonable parameters of chairmanship that I felt a vigorous response was justified.

We've since had one more GPC, this tome chaired by Angela Cornforth. Normal chairmanship was resumed and harmony prevailed. Ironically this meeting was also very short, because Labour asked for several items to be deferred and the rest of the agenda was non-contentious.

I conclude that the only child who merits correction is Master Christopher John Roberts who has not yet learnt how to share out his sweeties.

You may ask whether this matters. I think so. I see part of my role as an Opposition Councillor to speak up when I consider the administration to be behaving badly and in the matter of appoitmnents they have been displaying an unpleasant winner takes all, one party state mentality (see entry above for 26th June). Even if they are going to get their way eventually I feel it right to make it as dificult as possible for them to do so and force them to justify their behaviour in the Council hamber.

10:31 pm  
Blogger The Last Boy Scout said...

Thank you Paul for being honest.

You have though confirmed what a lot of people have thought of Chris Roberts for a long time.

8:38 am  

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