Legal action threatened in Malvern Hills chief executive row - councillors walk out of meeting amid angry scenes

Legal action threatened in Malvern Hills chief executive row - councillors walk out of meeting amid angry scenes

Legal action threatened in Malvern Hills chief executive row - councillors walk out of meeting amid angry scenes

First published in News
Last updated

OPPOSITION groups on Malvern Hills District Council are set to take the council to court after a row over plans to merge the authority's chief executive post with Wychavon council.

At the council's meeting on Tuesday, angry members of the Lib Dem and Democrat groups walked out, charging that a notice of motion brought by the ruling Conservative group was illegal.

The Tories' motion sought to change a decision made last month when the plan to share the chief executive's post was approved.

In that meeting, the words that "the new post is regarded as suitable employment for the current chief executive and managing director" was replaced with a recommendation that the post is "subject to open application and competition".

The Tories' motion sought to change the minutes to restore the original wording.

Opposition councillors said changing the minutes to reflect something that was not agreed at the meeting is illegal, , and Cllr Anthony Warburton produced written legal advice backing up that view.

The Tories quickly reworded the motion. After taking advice from council officers, cllr Mike Morgan, who was chairing the meeting, ruled that the reworded motion should be allowed - prompting the opposition walkout.

The rebel councillors stood outside the Council Chamber while the motion was passed 17-0 with two abstentions.

After the meeting Cllr Julian Roskams, leader of the Democratic group, said: "It's quite possible that we will challenge the decision in the courts as we believe it was taken illegally. We will also be calling for another extraordinary meeting of the council in August to take a second look at the whole issue of the chief executive merger."

Cllr Anthony Warburton said: "I got legal advice and that advice is clear: minutes can only be changed to better reflect the events of the meeting. They can't be changed to give the impression that something took place that didn't take place."

Yesterday, council leader David Hughes dubbed the walkout "irresponsible".

He said: "If legal action is being taken, then there is very little I can say about it now. But it's disappointing that they presented their legal advice at the meeting, not sharing it with officers in advance. And it's clear the walkout was orchestrated. This sort of thing is irresponsible and brings the council into disrepute."

Comments (9)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:27am Fri 1 Aug 14

Old-un says...

Come on MG, more accurate reporting please.

Quote The Tories quickly reworded the motion. After taking advice from council officers, cllr Mike Morgan, who was chairing the meeting, ruled that the reworded motion should be allowed - prompting the opposition walkout. Unquote

So what form of words did the Council Officers come up with that convinced the Chairman? Clearly, their initial advice was flawed: if not, then why change the original motion?
Come on MG, more accurate reporting please. Quote The Tories quickly reworded the motion. After taking advice from council officers, cllr Mike Morgan, who was chairing the meeting, ruled that the reworded motion should be allowed - prompting the opposition walkout. Unquote So what form of words did the Council Officers come up with that convinced the Chairman? Clearly, their initial advice was flawed: if not, then why change the original motion? Old-un
  • Score: 0

11:22am Fri 1 Aug 14

Casmal says...

The orIginal motion was: "Council agrees that Minute No 131(v) of 24 June be amended to read: (v) that confirmation is give that the new post is regarded as suitable alternative employment for the current Chief Executive and Managing Director." (Malvern has a CEO, Wychavon have an MD)

The revised motion was: "Council agrees that THE DECISION IN Minute No 131(v) be amended to read:....." In Other words the motion still amends the minutes!!

The constitution allows for decisions to be rescinded through a later meeting and that rescission decision recorded separately, so why choose to alter the minutes? I can't seriously believe that no-one, neither Leader, nor Deputy Leader, who recently studied the Constitution for the Cllr. role descriptions, nor the Monitoring Officer, whose job it is to ensure the constitution is abided by, nor the Legal Services Manager was unaware that minutes must legally be a true record of the meeting??! Indeed, at the beginning of that meeting the chairman asked for agreement that he sign the minutes as a true record of the June meeting!!

There is clearly more to this than meets the eye. Why is it so important to change the minutes, rather than rescind? They rescinded the SWDP decision, so they know the procedure. Why do they need that particular set of minutes to record that particular decision? Hmmmmm.

So. Cllr. Hughes, you should have known about the minutes being a true record, you've been to enough Council meetings to know, and breaching the constitution and breaking the law is bringing the Council into disrepute.
The orIginal motion was: "Council agrees that Minute No 131(v) of 24 June be amended to read: (v) that confirmation is give that the new post is regarded as suitable alternative employment for the current Chief Executive and Managing Director." (Malvern has a CEO, Wychavon have an MD) The revised motion was: "Council agrees that THE DECISION IN Minute No 131(v) be amended to read:....." In Other words the motion still amends the minutes!! The constitution allows for decisions to be rescinded through a later meeting and that rescission decision recorded separately, so why choose to alter the minutes? I can't seriously believe that no-one, neither Leader, nor Deputy Leader, who recently studied the Constitution for the Cllr. role descriptions, nor the Monitoring Officer, whose job it is to ensure the constitution is abided by, nor the Legal Services Manager was unaware that minutes must legally be a true record of the meeting??! Indeed, at the beginning of that meeting the chairman asked for agreement that he sign the minutes as a true record of the June meeting!! There is clearly more to this than meets the eye. Why is it so important to change the minutes, rather than rescind? They rescinded the SWDP decision, so they know the procedure. Why do they need that particular set of minutes to record that particular decision? Hmmmmm. So. Cllr. Hughes, you should have known about the minutes being a true record, you've been to enough Council meetings to know, and breaching the constitution and breaking the law is bringing the Council into disrepute. Casmal
  • Score: -1

11:27am Fri 1 Aug 14

Casmal says...

Incidentally, the Chairman, who should also know the constitution, refused, at first to consider the legal advice and it took many attempts by the opposition to give the officers time to read and consider it! A Chairman is supposed to be totally neutral and uphold the constitution and standing orders. In his last two meetings he has done an exceedingly poor job on both accounts.
Incidentally, the Chairman, who should also know the constitution, refused, at first to consider the legal advice and it took many attempts by the opposition to give the officers time to read and consider it! A Chairman is supposed to be totally neutral and uphold the constitution and standing orders. In his last two meetings he has done an exceedingly poor job on both accounts. Casmal
  • Score: 3

12:13pm Fri 1 Aug 14

Old-un says...

Thank you. It seems a bit rich of the Leader to suggest that others are bringing the Council into disrepute. The Tories seem to be making a pretty good job of it themselves without the help of the opposition. It really is time that we took political affiliations out of local politics.
Thank you. It seems a bit rich of the Leader to suggest that others are bringing the Council into disrepute. The Tories seem to be making a pretty good job of it themselves without the help of the opposition. It really is time that we took political affiliations out of local politics. Old-un
  • Score: 0

12:18pm Fri 1 Aug 14

Casmal says...

Old-un wrote:
Thank you. It seems a bit rich of the Leader to suggest that others are bringing the Council into disrepute. The Tories seem to be making a pretty good job of it themselves without the help of the opposition. It really is time that we took political affiliations out of local politics.
Oh, I do so totally agree with that!
[quote][p][bold]Old-un[/bold] wrote: Thank you. It seems a bit rich of the Leader to suggest that others are bringing the Council into disrepute. The Tories seem to be making a pretty good job of it themselves without the help of the opposition. It really is time that we took political affiliations out of local politics.[/p][/quote]Oh, I do so totally agree with that! Casmal
  • Score: 1

12:19pm Fri 1 Aug 14

Casmal says...

Oh, I so agree with that!
Oh, I so agree with that! Casmal
  • Score: -1

10:58pm Fri 1 Aug 14

Hugh Wattmate says...

Just Tories... Thats all they are like a rash that wont go away.
Just Tories... Thats all they are like a rash that wont go away. Hugh Wattmate
  • Score: -2

10:59pm Fri 1 Aug 14

Hugh Wattmate says...

Tories, like a rash that wont go away.. Always twisting and changing things.
Tories, like a rash that wont go away.. Always twisting and changing things. Hugh Wattmate
  • Score: -1

10:52am Sat 2 Aug 14

sarah and her chickens says...

It was certainly an interesting evening.
It started with the Chief executive refusing to say if he had appointed the correct investigator for the formal complaint into serious constitutional failures and move on to an illegal vote to change history and yet more constitutional failures.
At least they are consistent in their incompetence.
A lot of very red faces and sweating brows in the torie camp.
It was certainly an interesting evening. It started with the Chief executive refusing to say if he had appointed the correct investigator for the formal complaint into serious constitutional failures and move on to an illegal vote to change history and yet more constitutional failures. At least they are consistent in their incompetence. A lot of very red faces and sweating brows in the torie camp. sarah and her chickens
  • Score: -1

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree