Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Avoiding the public

Is Ulverston Town Council becoming more and more inward looking?

After the way members of the public have been treated in the past by the Town Council procedures that  cut off people trying to communicate with the council using the 15 minutes available at the beginning of  a council meeting, one might easily conclude that the public is regarded by the council as no more than a nuisance to 'getting on with the important business of the council'.

I dropped in last night to the latest meeting and everything was humming along swimmingly. The Mayor sat with her large gold necklace, ably assisted by her Town Clerk,  the Deputy was missing .The Labour seats were all filled with a third of the Conservative councillors busy elsewhere. There was a chummy atmosphere and councillors chirrup to each other in a respectful way addressing each other as Madam Mayor and Councillor Smith. Business shot through at a brisk pace and Councillors were careful to declare their prejudicial interests in any matter being discussed and the chair managed with difficulty to control the frequent interuptions of Cllr Bishop-Rowe - she's had lots of practice. The Town council is a well oiled machine and it must be a big boost to  member's ego to be part of such an august institution.

But hang on a minute, how do they treat  the public, not only in the council chamber but on their web site.

You would have thought that with paying more for the services of a town clerk that the web site would be kept up to date so as to inform the public efficiently but what does one find? Under Council Administration have a look at Minutes and Agenda :

The Latest Agenda reads:

Town Clerk: Jayne Kendall
Town Mayor: Cllr Judy Pickthall
Deputy Town Mayor: Cllr Helen Irving
Our Ref: JK/SY
27 November 2013
Dear Sir/Madam Councillor,"

Yes it's the agenda for the meeting last December 2nd 2013 . What happened to the four meetings since then and particularly the one last night on April 14th?

  • January  6th
  • January 20th
  • February 17th
  • March 17th

  • Now look at the Archives at the bottom. The latest is dated 20 January which is the minutes for the meeting held on January 20th - what happened to the minutes for the meetings in February and March?

    Can one conclude that in reality the public really aren't important to our Council ?

    Is it "Please don't bother us, we're too busy being busy".

    Do we only get made a fuss of at elections?

    Roll on the day when a councillor finally decides that their electorate are important and runs one of these newfangled blogs - then they might start to earn our respect.

    Until then will we bother to vote?

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