Published 28th March 2015
Thornliebank Community Council has banned two of its own members from attending any future Joint Community Council Forum meetings.
Thornliebank Community Council (TCC) voted at their last meeting to ban the chair and secretary from attending the East Renfrewshire Joint Community Council Forum (ERJCCF) as representatives of TCC.
In a move straight out of non democratic North Korea they have went further and instructed that they should not attend as private individuals either.
The ERJCCF was established several years ago and in a press release issued by them they explain the issue.
Certain Community Councillors have attempted to prevent a Community Council Chair and Vice Chair from attending ERJCCF meetings.
We ask the question, what valid justification is there for this approach?
The ERJCCF operates on an informal basis, in line with ERC’s Guidance Manual for Community Councils and the Scotland Act 1973.
ERJCCF was set up as an informal forum in line with Scottish Government guidance primarily for Community Council Chairpersons and Secretaries. There is therefore no requirement for a constitution or elected office bearers. We do not have a Chairperson. Should one be required to steer a meeting such as when ERC’s Chief Executive or an MSP attends as an invited guest, the Chair is rotated amongst the Community Council Chairs present.
Notes are often produced for information purposes to distribute, instead of formal minutes. Whilst all attending are Community Councillors, they are attending the ERJCCF purely as individuals.
Every individual in attendance has a personal and genuine interest in the wellbeing of their community where they reside and a desire to enhance their personal knowledge and understanding of various Community Council matters. The sharing of information, support and increased knowledge of all the issues and views from other areas within East Renfrewshire is of great value and develops a mutual understanding which is beneficial, to the Community Councillors and their residents in East Renfrewshire.
There have been a number of erroneous, negative comments, over the last year, in particular from the Leader of the Council Cllr. Fletcher, Cllr. Waters and the Chief Executive Lorraine McMillan regarding the ERJCCF. This apparent deliberate misinformation has led, amongst other things to ERC officials refusing to recognise, correspond or attend any meetings of the ERJCCF.
It has been brought to our attention that some attendees of the ERJCCF have been attacked unjustifiably by fellow Community Councillors for attending the ERJCCF. Some Community Councillor office bearers have been told by members of their own Community Councils that they are barred from attending future ERJCCF meetings, which ignores the fact that all attendees, attend on a personal, individual capacity. This is simply acting ultra vires. (Acting beyond their powers.)
We condemn this conduct by those uninformed Community Councillors who seek to restrict the personal freedom of their elected office bearers, who are acting in an individual capacity. We find this conduct abhorrent and it has no basis as it clearly contravenes the letter and the spirit of the Act.
NEWSLINE understands that Leader Fletcher was at the meeting when they decided to ban their Chair and Vice from attending and he was heard to say that the ERJCCF was not a recognised body.
Leader Jim Fletcher
He was also present when they instructed that these two office bearers were not permitted to attend as individuals in their own right.
This is not the first occasion that a CC has attempted to control the activities of their own with regards to the ERJCCF.
Unsurprisingly this occurred at Giffnock Community Council and once again Leader Fetcher was present.
In January 2014 Chairman D’Souza referred to a previous meeting where it had been decreed that no Ccllr from TCC was to attend at the JCCF.
The Ccllr concerned had challenged this, as to whether GCC was in fact permitted to make decisions affecting official external representation by GCC councillors. However Chairman D’Souza stated that it was regrettable and disappointing to learn from the minutes of the recent JCC meeting that Jeffrey had been in attendance.
The Ccclrs passed a vote of no confidence in the Cllr concerned and he has since resigned from his role.
Present and counting the votes for the CC was Leader Fletcher.
Is this another case of Leader Fletcher wishing to keep the populous divided in order to keep himself in power.
NEWSLINE would have to ask where does this CC get the power and authority to prevent these two residents of East Renfrewshire from attending a meeting if they so desire.
Will they have the community safety department at ERC issue them with tags and put in place curfews.
Will TCC Cllrs be tagged
We have asked Leader Fletcher for a comment, but he has failed to respond.