Councillors could be asked to re-take chairman vote

Parish councillors could be asked to re-take their vote for this year’s chairman, after the previous ballot was found to “not meet” current legal procedure.

An aerial view showing Brookside in Telford. Photo: Google
An aerial view showing Brookside in Telford. Photo: Google

Jackie Loveridge was re-elected to chair Stirchley and Brookside Parish Council at its annual general meeting last month.

But, in a report for members’ June meeting, clerk Michael Turner suggests a vote to endorse the AGM’s decision or, if that fails, a fresh election.

Councillors will discuss his report when they meet at their Sambrook Centre headquarters on Tuesday.

The AGM took place remotely on Tuesday, May 26. Labour councillor Loveridge, who represents Brookside both at parish and Telford and Wrekin Council level, was nominated and re-elected as chairman.

Adrian Watkin, an independent councillor who represents the Stirchley ward, was the only other nominee.

No objections were raised to the election process at the time, and Mr Turner’s report does not specify the procedural violation.

“Since the AGM, it has become apparent that the process through which the chair was appointed, although following the same approach that had taken [sic] for some years, did not meet the procedure currently set down in law,” Mr Turner writes.

“Having taken advice from several different sources, there seems to be no set legal process available to address/resolve this position.

“To this end, I have been recommended to put forward a practical proposal which I would recommend to councillors.”

He recommends a multi-step process. Firstly, he writes, those councillors who were present for the AGM should “consider a recommendation to endorse the result of the election of chair as resolved at said meeting”.

If this is defeated, the same set of councillors should vote to allow “all councillors present at the current meeting to take part in the election, following the correct procedure, under the direction of the chair”, he writes.

If this vote falls too, councillors could vote to either re-hold the chairman election with those members who attended the AGM or the full membership.

Since the AGM, a by-election was held to fill two seats in the five-member Stirchley ward, following the resignation of one independent councillor and one Labour member. Conservatives Harvey Unwin and Tammy Wood were elected to replace them.

Conservative Brookside councillor Stuart Parr resigned from office in March 2021, and the remaining councillors will consider co-opting a new member to fill his seat at next week’s meeting.

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