Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Are all Hemingbrough Parish Councillors literate?

Do they think about anything but their own special interests?  They obviously don’t check the accuracy of Council minutes before waving their hands in the air to agree they are accurate.  Can’t Chairman Jan Strelczenie check his own notes, hesitantly read at Council meetings, to ensure the Parish Clerk, Mrs. Julie Leighton-Eshelby, or perhaps a surrogate, writes minutes accurately before he signs them into history? 

Perhaps this could be a conspiracy to stop the recording of the Parishioners Forum, which he hates.  

He is on the film and sound record, stored on the Cloud and sometimes broadcast on YouTube, month after month, literally, making ludicrous statements – ‘Allotments are not in the remit of the Parish Council’, or ‘last year’s Annual Parish Meeting was a short one in the Hemingbrough Village Institute with no members of the public present’.  

All completely WRONG, and approved by Councillors this year.  Who writes this guff for him to read?

Here's the latest one to the Clerk to Hemingbrough Parish Council, Mrs. Julie Leighton-Eshelby

Dear Parish Clerk,

This a formal challenge of your minutes of the 20th July 2017 Parish Council that Councillors carelessly confirmed to be a true and accurate record on 18th August 2017.  I assume you alone wrote those minutes.  Those minutes are not available on the Council’s web site nor on the Council’s Notice Board in the village at the time I am writing this letter.  I obtained a copy from a Councillor as they are deemed to be publicly available. 

You wrote Prior to the Public Forum the Chairman reiterated that the public forum is not part of the formal meeting and therefore should not be recorded in any form.

Your account that is a part of the Council’s legal record in perpetuity is wrong. 

Do you want to see how WRONG is the Clerk's minute?  Listen to Strelczenie at the Council Meeting on this YouTube video. Read the transcript below.  Whoever wrote that minute above is WRONG!. That is not just an error, that minute is Strelczenie's Council Policy to deny the public access to the heart of this disgraceful Council and see and hear what really happens, even if they cannot be there in person - as the Law allows!  Click here to hear the truth, not what Councillors said is the Truth!  

What Council Chairman Jan Strelczenie said as he called the Council meeting to order on the stroke of 7pm was “Just before we go on to Parishioner’s Forum, I’d just like to point out that I have been informed by a member of the public that people may be recording Parishioner’s Forum, filming or recording.  I’ll just read out Number 5 of Standing Orders 71 which states “A person or persons recording the Parish Council meeting are reminded that the public participation period may not be part of the formal meeting and that they should take advice for themselves as to their rights to make any recording during that period.”

I assume he meant ‘you’ when he referred to ‘a member of the public’ as you were heard telling him immediately before the meeting that two Hemingbrough residents would be recording the Council meeting.

Not only was your July 2017 minute untrue, but you failed to inform the Council of your minutes of 19th May 2016 “Consider and decide on amendment to the effective management of recording local Council and Parish Meetings” that remains the statutory and legally binding formal record of council decisions.

A Local Councils Association offers the following advice:

a public participation session, whenever it takes place in relation to the parish council meeting, would not occur unless a meeting of the council had been lawfully convened in the first place. Also, given that public participation can influence a council’s decisions, public participation sessions form part of the council meeting in law.
 public participation sessions should be ordered by the Chairman of the council as part of his/her role in presiding over the council meeting and in accordance with any standing orders adopted;
 public participation sessions should be incorporated in the minutes of the council meeting and should, where appropriate, record the identities of those who make comments during this session;
 if a councillor has an interest in the matter being discussed he or she would need to declare it and act in accordance with the Code of Conduct adopted by the council;
 public participation sessions should form part of the agenda.
I assert the Public Participation sessions at Hemingbrough Parish Council meetings are a formal part of the Agenda accompanying the Clerk’s Summons to attend to consider and resolve the business to be transacted at the meeting as detailed in the Agenda.

Your standard Agenda format begins with “Parishioners Forum: 15 Minute Session (Extendable by agreement of the Council).

The Forum is a part of the lawfully convened meeting of the Council, is chaired by the Council Chairman, is extendable at the Council’s sole discretion and is minuted by the Parish Clerk.  Accordingly, it may be recorded subject to the published guidelines about openness, intrusion, exclusion, filming of children, young people and vulnerable adults, equipment safety, lighting, reporting etc. (The transcript of my film record – openly made under national rules - will surely mirror the Council’s own recording made to aid you in writing accurate minutes.) 

I note that neither you nor Strelczenie follow the Hemingbrough Council Resolution: filming, recording and broadcasting requirements are to be displayed on the Council’s web site or notice boards and that a copy of these rules / guidance will be provided to members of the public in attendance at a meeting of the Parish Council.  Neither of you remind the public of the rules and guidance enabling any type of recording to take place, nor “Those who attend a public meeting should expect to be filmed.  This includes councillors, council officers and members of the public.

I believe your minute is so far from the truth that maybe you did write it yourself.  I also believe the minute is a part of a campaign of prolonged bullying of a Parish Councillor and any resident who asks ‘awkward’ questions.    

I require the Council to correct its error at its next meeting, and to place the truth on record.  I intend to inform the relevant authorities of this incident.

I note you did not minute the disturbance later in the same meeting when Strelczenie falsely accused two Hemingbrough Residents, Markham and McCann again, of talking loudly during the formal Council meeting and accusing them of trying to blame the visiting Selby District Councillors Deans and Arthur.  In fact, it was those two Councillors who were talking to each other at the back of the meeting rooms in tones that could be heard by Strelczenie at the far end of the meeting room, and Arthur has admitted it was them.  

Surely, such an incident is worthy of note, especially as Strelczenie referred to it from the safety of his “Chairman’s  Remarks” section of the August 2017 meeting, when the two residents concerned did not have any right to reply to his scurrilous remarks.

By the way, the Council’s web site link to the Interests of Councillors is broken, yet again.