Mayor given vote of no confidence
Berwick Town Council has delivered a vote of no confidence in Mayor Brian Douglas as its chairman.
The motion was carried on an 11-1 vote at a private meeting on Monday night.
There was no call for the resignation of Coun Douglas but the majority of members then staged a mass walk-out which is understood to have been in protest at his continuing chairmanship.
The walk-out forced the cancellation of the full council meeting which was scheduled to follow and raises questions of how the council will now function.
The meeting to discuss the vote of no confidence was called by last year’s mayor, Coun Gregah Roughead and Coun Karin Graham and is understood to relate to several incidents.
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These include an alleged confrontation between Coun Douglas and town clerk Gareth Davies at a meeting in August in which the Mayor is accused of acting in a bullying or intimidatory manner.
However, it is understood there has been no move to make a formal complaint to the monitoring officer of Northumberland County Council regarding any allegations that amount to a breach of the code of conduct.
Mr Davies, in a report to councillors, explained that while the idea of a motion of no confidence in the Mayor, or any other individual, is one which has a powerful grip on the popular imagination, in the context of parish councils it has never been either explained or given life in legislation.
‘A motion of no confidence in the chairman of a parish council, therefore has only moral force; that is to say, members may wish the chairman to consider their position in the case of there being a decision that council has no confidence in its chair, but they cannot take any further action,’ he states.