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Statement by Pencoed Town Council
This statement has been prepared in the name of the Town Council in order to clarify the procedural facts adopted by the Town Council in co-opting a councilor, which has been the subject of discussion on Social Media
The Co-option facility is only implemented when a by -election is not called. i.e. if a request for an election is not received in the 14 day period allowed, electoral services inform the Clerk that the Community/Town Council MUST fill the vacancy by co-option as soon as practicable after the end of the 14 day period.
The procedure of advertising the co-option is undertaken by the Principal Local authority. In the case in point this is Bridgend County Borough. (BCBC). Part 7, Chapter 3 of the Local (Wales) Measure 2011 refers. Any notice must contain the following:
· The contact details of the individual from whom further information about the vacancy or vacancies in question and the process for selecting a person for co-option, may be obtained
· Any other information that is considered appropriate
· Other information as is required to be included in the notice by any regulations mad by Welsh Ministers
The Electoral section of BCBC has a defined written procedure /guidance that it is to be followed and this has been followed to date.
The procedure indicates what prospective candidates for co-option have to do in order for them to be considered by the relevant Town or Community Council where the vacancy occurs.
Incorporate ed in the procedure is the requirement that all prospective candidates apply in writing to the relevant Council indicating the following:
· The contribution you believe you could make to the work of the Council
· The personal qualities that you would bring to the role
· Your availability for attending meetings
On the basis of the applications received in accordance with the foregoing requirement, which are considered to be the minimum required, the relevant Council will be able to make an appointment.
Appointments to co-option MUST be carried out as soon as practical following the closing date for receipt of applications i.e. the next Full Council Meeting
Having followed the procedure laid down by BCBC the applications received were duly presented to the Town Council meeting in October 2018. This was the earliest date.
At the meeting copies of all the applications were distributed to the Councilors present. As it was only then that the councilors had received the applications the Mayor stated that he would allow councilors to have sufficient time to consider and read the applications.
At this juncture a proposal was put forward that the matter of appointment be deferred for a week to a meeting at which candidates would be interviewed. This proposal was not seconded.
However, a second proposal was put that the matter be deferred for a week, for members to consider the applications and that candidates would not be interviewed in line with previous custom and practice. This proposal was not seconded
(It is important to note that authorities must ensure that anyone conducting an interview must themselves have received suitable training in how to do this and are advised to liaise with the WLGA to ensure the provision of this). If interviews were therefore to take place this would have prevented the Council from following the requirement to fill the vacancy as soon as practicable.
The proposer of the initial proposal referred to above, along with two other Councilors considered that what had transpired was not fair and that they would not participate in any proceedings that followed as a consequence.
Subsequently, it was then proposed that the matter be considered at the meeting and Mrs. Jill Ryan was nominated. No other candidate was nominated.
It was pointed out that one of the candidates, who was the person nominated, had stood for election in 2017 and had received in excess of 400 votes from the residents of the ward. It was felt that this fact could not be disregarded. None of the other candidates were in that position.
Given those circumstances the nominated candidate was duly appointment by the majority of the Council. It was considered that this process was better than 12 members making a decision.
It is also worthy to note that more than 50% of the elected members in the 2017 election received less than 400 votes.
14th January 2019