Saturday, 14 December 2013

The longest day!

The last full council meeting of the year on Thursday night turned into quite a marathon. Starting at 6.30pm as usual it did not end until after 1.30am. This was with only one short comfort break for the benefit of the Deputy Mayor who unlike the rest of us could not leave the chamber whilst the meeting was in progress. I was due at a meeting of the main board of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership in Thurrock at 10am the next morning followed by a meeting of the Transport Board where I was representing the council. As a result, and notwithstanding having only made it home at 2.15am, I was in my office at 7am and then at Thurrock for the start of the LEP meeting. The Lep board includes leaders of various county, unitary and district councils across Essex, Kent and East Sussex and there was general humour and incredulity expressed by a number of my fellow leaders at the length and content of our council meeting. Reflecting on the meeting it did seem bizarre. There were only 2 votes all night, both of which were won by the administration with help from various opposition members (and on the second occasion the casting vote of the Deputy Mayor). So why did it take so long? With 51 members potentially entitled to speak on any item I suppose that if meetings are to be focussed and shorter it requires members to speak to the minute being discussed and not try to simply talk for the sake of it. It would also be helpful if we all made an effort not to simply repeat points made by previous speakers.So who are the main culprits? Well now that our meetings are recorded it is possible for us all to make up our own minds and at least viewing the webcast allows use of a fast forward button!

No comments:

Post a Comment