After reading your '˜Letters and opinion' columns recently, in common with thousands of others, I am of the opinion that the National Code of Local Government Conduct regulations are in the process of being '˜manipulated', perhaps misinterpreted or deliberately '˜massaged' in order to appease a few mindless people apparently for self-gratification.
The prolonged matters relating to council meetings reported by the Advertiser representative sitting in at these meetings are accurate and cannot be faulted.
However, some so-called councillors appear not to adhere to the aforementioned Code of Conduct thereby invoking that age-old adage of ‘history having a habit of repeating itself’, thus bringing a delightful town into both disrepute and total disarray!
Several of these councillors have been termed as ‘sheer chancers’, whose only attributes are the ability to use, what is colloquially known as the gift of the gab and brass-neck in order to ‘get their own way’ as was mentioned by numerous people. A return to 1859’s ‘Most Scandalous Elections’ – quite possibly as many of the council meetings are symptomatic.
The over-riding duty of any councillor is to the community as a whole.
Contrary to this clause, a minority of councillors appear to contravene this clause by way of being influenced by others. No matter how cunningly such issues are thinly ‘disguised’ – total impartiality should be of prime importance.
Any councillor (or relative) who has a private or personal matter on which to refer to at any council meeting should take advice and guidance from the said council’s legal officer before appointing a representative to raise the matter in question, thus averting a conflict of interest. If this is done appears to be something of a matter of conjecture.
Berwick’s acting town clerk was doing exceedingly well, bearing in mind that this astute lady was metaphorically parachuted in at the deep end of a somewhat heated inhospitable depth of water. In no way should any individual intimidate her for doing such a difficult job of work under pressure.
As a councillor, you are expected to be in a position to justify your actions to either (a) a member of the public or (b) any officer requesting such an explanation for your action(s). Even a minute degree of impropriety merits scrutiny, in-depth.
It is not enough to avoid actual impropriety, as, at all times, councillors should avoid totally any occasion which affords any grounds for suspicion or in fact any appearance whatsoever of any improper conduct.
The big question being asked by many is: ‘Are these rules being rigidly adhered to in Berwick?’
There does appear to be a rather larger than normal sized question mark!