Second council meeting to sort out all roles leaves one committee chair vacant – third go needed?
Wrexham’s Councillors met yesterday afternoon to have a second crack at sorting out who would chair which committee and take up other roles. However there could be scope for a third meeting to iron out just one more thing.
The meeting surprisingly ended with Wrexham Council’s Customers, Performance, Resources and Governance Scrutiny Committee lacking a Chairsperson.
It is thought that the Plaid Cymru group were due to nominate Cllr Harper to the role, however that did not occur.
It is unclear if Plaid are able to nominate someone again or if that chance gets passed elsewhere, although the report before councillors noted “the remaining 2 chairs are the ‘property’ of the groups not represented in the executive namely the Labour, Plaid Cymru and Liberal Democrat groups“.
The report from officers to advise councillors also indicated that there is no rush for a nomination, as: “The remaining chair has to be appointed by the relevant scrutiny committee from either the Plaid Cymru or Liberal Democrat group members on that committee as neither of these groups has an automatic entitlement to that chair when the Guidance is applied”.
Section 67 of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 explains if the committee should make the appointment as the council report suggests, however that does not appear to be applicable to circumstances in Wrexham:
Cases A, B and C are not applicable in Wrexham as there are six political groups, with the Measure appearing to indicate it would be bounced back to a similar Full Council meeting as has been held twice already to discuss this business.
An appointment could happen in committee, however there would be further questions on if a third meeting would be required to ratify any nomination / appointment, and if business could be conducted under an unratified Chair.
A third Full Council meeting could ratify any such nominations, or the committee could run for a 3-4 months without a formal Chair, leaving things in the capable hands of current Vice-Chair Cllr Adrienne Jeorrett.
Scrutiny Committees are usually unable to self-nominate Chairs independently, with Audit being separate from that process as they appoint a lay member rather than a councillor who gets a senior salary.
Aside from the empty Chair, there was an invite for written nominations for any outstanding memberships of committees which have to be done within 7 days from last night. Outside that 7 day window previously even committee members have had to be ratified by Council, as happened late last year.
Yesterday’s unique meeting kicked off with now-rare microphone issues before a range of issues with the report itself were noted, deemed ‘typos’ by some, however we understand the report was created by using submitted information, some of which was provided at short notice, with it felt by some the errors were not from the officer end.
We are also told Cllr Bithell’s group had a meeting shortly before the meeting, however when he raised his hand to speak it was only to note a further error in the report rather than anything more explosive.
Clr Pritchard presents the report. Cllr Bithell has hand up after – no fireworks – its an error about who is on what committee from his group. Clr Dana Davies also wants a constitution working group to update/work on the constitution of the council.
— Wrexham.com (@wrexham) June 5, 2019
Cllr Dana Davies moved Cllr King as Chair of Democratic Services, which went forward unopposed.
Cllr Harper nominated Cllr Marc Jones for Vice-Chair of the Planning Committee. Cllr Pritchard nominated Cllr Michael Dixon creating a ‘straight vote’ over the job.
Clr Marc Jones 8 v Cllr Dixon … has it, loads of hands up, 33. Planning Committee has a new Vice-Chair.
— Wrexham.com (@wrexham) June 5, 2019
The Homes and Environment Scrutiny Committee had a vacant Vice-Chair position, which the Mayor explained was open to a Plaid Cymru councillor and they have 7 days to fill that slot.
The Mayor then said, “The only other item we have to sort out is the nomination for the audit committee” and invited nominations from the floor, with Cllr Mike Davies successful self-nominating.
Further speakers were invited, which there were none, so the overall substantive motion that was proposed at the start of the meeting by Cllr Pritchard, was then passed unanimously.
The world record full 17 minute 43 second webcast of the entire meeting can be found here on the Council TV website.
Top pic: Columbo remembers the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011…
Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email News@Wrexham.com