Monday, 22 May 2017

BUT, DOES IT MATTER? (Read or skip to the end)

Bulging eyes and red face.  The diminutive Parish Chairman was in a filthy mood even before the Parish Council started last Thursday evening.

It was raining.  He was locked out of the Methodist Church Hall.  The Annual Parish Meeting was scheduled for 6:30, half an hour before the monthly Parish Council.  He was on the phone trying to contact the caretaker.  The Parish Clerk hadn’t told the caretaker about the earlier start.  She came in for some choice words.  I was the only other person there.  He had to talk to me until another Councillor arrived.  That unleashed a torrent. 

The Council vacancy will be filled by an election, not by co-option of mates!  The Residents will decide!  Strelczenie will not get to browbeat the Vegetables to co-opt his choice.  

Maybe he was thinking about the time his wife was up for co-option.  The proper Parish Clerk back then, Brian Hopper, told Strelczenie he should not take part in the co-option.  That didn’t bother the little Napoleon.  He ignored the Clerk so she was co-opted on to the Council.  Four of the eleven Council seats occupied by two friendly families - until residents kicked two of them off.   

In his agitated state, maybe ‘Gobby’ was thinking of the village grapevine.  Months ago, the village grapevine alleged the Parish History Gang had done a dirty deal with the Village Hall Gang.  Chairman Strelczenie wouldn’t be challenged by Vice-chairman Procter in the annual appointment of Parish Chairman.  Not like last year, then.  A Councillor was about to resign.  As reward for not challenging the Chair, a Village Hall Gang Member would be slid on to the Council.  The chosen ‘candidate’ was collecting names already in support.  That person hadn’t taken any visible interest in Council before.  

Anyway, that would be a better deal than having a Hagg Lane Green Gang Member back on the Council.  They had lost three of their seats at the last election after four year of buggering about and doing very little.  Unless you think banking the precept at no interest to be an achievement.  The Council auditor didn’t think so!  Neither did the residents.

Maybe Strelczenie had been spitting blood all day.  The Clerk got an email earlier that day telling her there will be an election.  Residents will decide.  Gobby doesn’t get to fill the vacancy by co-option. 

Thwarted Gobby was enraged.  He words about an election were made before the meeting started, so I won’t record them.  He was reminded about “The Costs of Democracy” built into every Council budget to pay for residents to decide whom they want.        

To pump up the pressure further, the Annual Meeting started in high farce.  Strelczenie started reading the minutes of last year’s Annual Meeting in his usual, faltering style.  He reported it had been a short meeting with no Public present. 

Councillors sat there like ‘rabbits in the headlights’ – physically present, but disinclined to contradict livid Gobby.  Where are their brains?  The Parish Clerk, who had arrived two minutes before the meeting started, just sat there. 

The Chairman’s saw a raised hand in the public gallery.  Questions and comments at the end, he said.  

It wasn’t a Parish Council meeting; the rules are different. YOU ARE WRONG!  Residents WERE at last year’s annual meeting.  I have it on film!  Do you remember when ………!  Another resident chipped in.  The evidence was overwhelming.  Gobby and the Clerk had completely messed up, even getting the location of the meeting wrong.  Gobby doesn’t take embarrassment very well.

What’s wrong with the vegetable-like Councillors?  Why did ceiling-staring Vice-chairman Bob Procter just sit there?  What’s so interesting for him on the ceiling?  Are most Councillors so concerned by only their vested interests they don’t know what’s going on under their noses?  If Gobby had said ‘Elvis is alive and living in Hemingbrough’, they would say nothing, unless he was said to be living on Hagg Lane Green.

Anyway, back to the forthcoming parish election.  It can’t be held on General Election day.  If Eddie had resigned a month earlier, it could have been, but that’s life.  Selby District Council prefers residents should vote to fill a vacancy.  Co-option is a device for those Parishes where there are not enough candidates to fill council seats and co-opting mates is the only way to get a council.  

A parish needs only ten residents to trigger an election.  It had taken the vastly experienced, independent Councillor Chilvers less than an hour to gather the signatures.  One of them was from the independent Councillor Keith Terry.   


How do you feel about the potential diesel tanks risks and costs ‘time-bomb’ under the Memorial Gardens being transferred from the Parish History Gang (leader Jan Strelczenie and his wife) to the Parish Council (leader Jan Strelczenie) without a full debate as an ‘Agenda’ item in Council?  

The Council needs independent Councillors.   

The potential costs could bankrupt the Council, suggests one Councillor.  Some Councillors are already getting cold feet about their late night sneaky session vote for residents to take ownership of the Gardens, and the tanks!

DUE DILIGENCE?  Gobby probably doesn’t know the phrase - reasonable steps, such as a survey or risk assessment, taken to avoid being neglectful or just plain stupid.