View Full Version : Councillor resigns row: comment

09-Feb-11, 13:25
See also, councillor resigns over row.
Council needs to get together and sort this ill feeling out,for the good of the community

MONDAY night saw one of the most heated discussions, I have encountered at a council table, for as long as I can remember, and I can go back some 50 years in my journalistic career.
I remember my late father, John Hot News Donaldson, regaling me of almost unbelievable Wick Town Council meetings, which sometimes lasted until midnight, by which time it was becoming difficult to see some of the members because of a smokers’ fug. At times, said Dad, things became so heated that it was not unknown for a member to challenge a fellow councillor to come outside to settle matters in a drastic manner.
Those day are gone, and hopefully, for good. But as I said, I don’t recall a council meeting where some members were driven to using bad language to hammer home their points. It’s unbecoming of any public body and hopefully we won’t see a repetition. A community council is an essential organisation for a town and it has never been more important in these times of centralisation. I know some critics say community councils are talking shops with no teeth. I don’t subscribe to that view.
The Royal Burgh of Wick Community Council is a voice of the people and I think has a good cross section of folk enabling it to reflect local opinion and work for the good of the town. Its affairs are well reported, in the local and national media. How many organisations can boost the presence of two reporters covering its affairs? Not many. We need their collective counsel, more than ever in the difficult economic times that are about to descend on us like a big, black cloud.
Democracy entitles people to speak their minds and they should always have that treasured right.
But the bickering that broke out on Monday night did the Royal Burgh of Wick Community Council no credit, a body that usually channels its vocal energies into more worthwhile issues. Oaths and all, however, it demonstrated the depth of feeling, and, it appeared to be unanimous, regarding Laurel Bush’s attitude and criticism of the council and the way it is run and the continual requests for information about this, that and the other . But, when it comes to the stage where his fellow members have reached the end of their tether and blow their stacks, the way they did on Monday night, topped off by Wendy Campbell’s resignation, then something is far wrong.
Incidentally, I hope, when you cool down, that you will reconsider, Wendy. The council cannot afford to lose someone who not afraid to speak her mind and, my goodness, don’t we need folk like that in the present austere climate. Councillor Geraldine Durrand expressed the fear that Mrs Campbell would not be the last to ‘go’ and who knows where that would end.
Which takes me to the question of what to do next. Well, I am going to suggest something that I never ever imagined I would propose, having stood staunchly against private discussions in meetings, I thought were unjustified. It is this, that the community council’s meets in private, with Mr Bush, perhaps away from the formality of the council table and they both make a serious endeavour to try and sort this sorry business out, not just for his good or that of the councillors, but for the good of the council as a whole, and the town, before the situation gets out of hand.
Because if they don’t, the ill feeling that climaxed on Monday night, will feaster on, and rear its ugly head, time and time again.