Ryde Mayor ‘never felt so low’ ahead of ‘no confidence’ meeting

Cllr Lilley said he had been unable to discuss the issue for confidential reasons. He said it had been difficult for him personally, as he was unable to publicly dispute the accusations

michael lilley

The mayor of Ryde, Cllr Michael Lilley, said he had ‘never felt so low’ after seven town councillors tabled a motion of no confidence against him.

Ryde Town Council is due to hold an extraordinary meeting tomorrow (Friday) to discuss the motion.

Criticised for “lack of transparency”
A letter sent to Cllr Michael Lilley, calling for the meeting, criticised a lack of transparency, inclusion and respect shown to colleagues.

The signatories said they had no confidence in five colleagues — Cllrs Lilley, deputy mayor Adrian Axford, Phil Jordan, Nancy Farrell and Diana Conyers.

The move comes after two clerks left the council. The letter’s signatories said a town council panel that negotiated their terms went beyond their remit.

Unable to publicly dispute accusations
Cllr Lilley said he had been unable to discuss the issue for confidential reasons. He said it had been difficult for him personally, as he was unable to publicly dispute the accusations.

He said in a public statement today (Thursday):

“I assure everyone we have acted totally ethically, with integrity and propriety.

“For many months, some other councillors have pressed for me to resign and, on Friday, some members are calling a no confidence vote in me and five other councillors.

“I would welcome your support.

“It is hard when you know people are saying malicious things about you but you have to keep confidentiality as an honourable person when others simply do not and spread untruths.

“I have never felt so low for a long time.”

Wakeley: “Feel they have acted outside of their powers”
One of the signatories, Cllr Tim Wakeley, has also raised concerns the council may lack the ‘power of competence’ to make decisions without qualified clerks.

Speaking last week, he said:

“There has been a lot of tension in the council. Due to the unhappiness, we are seeking the meeting to pursue a motion of no confidence, where we can express our views about the processes that have been employed and explore the consequences.

“At an informal meeting, the panel could not identify the powers they used in our standing orders. In other words, we feel they have acted outside of their powers.”

“Cover-up” accusations
Another signatory, Cllr Henry Adams, accused members of ‘covering up’ the issue and said they needed to be more transparent.

Other signatories were Cllrs Julian Critchley, Jim Moody, Sue Lyons, Ian Stephens and Karen Lucioni.

Lilley: “Worked hard to support local people”
Cllr Lilley said he cared deeply about Ryde and had always tried to do his best as a councillor.

He said:

“As mayor, I have worked hard to support local people and the community.

“I have supported Ryde along with some good councillors to get the Historic High Street zone funds, moved towards getting Ryde Town Council to take over the Harbour from Isle of Wight Council, to get Appley Tower into community ownership, among many other things.”

The extraordinary meeting will take place tomorrow (Friday), at 7pm, at the George Street Centre.


This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may be been made by OnTheWight. Ed

Image: © With kind permission of Allan Marsh

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42 Comments on "Ryde Mayor ‘never felt so low’ ahead of ‘no confidence’ meeting"

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Lyn Blackledge
I wonder if those attacking Councillor Lilley and his colleagues would be so brave if they had to put their real names to their posts? I’m not frightened to use my own name! Why not attend the meeting tonight to assess for yourselves. He said, she said etc is not helpful! Sadly social media has seen much online bullying. Would the keyboard warriors be so brave in… Read more »
Geoff Brodie

Well said Lyn.

peterj
I was earlier accused of being abusive by one of those anonymous accounts. I really don’t think I have been, but am not above being called out if I’ve overstepped anywhere. There have also been accusations of personal attacks in the comments of ‘the other place’ (CP). Context is key here methinks. Some are making out this is an isolated thing and that they are just being… Read more »
Geoff Brodie

So ‘No Confidence’ votes all defeated after the report from Cllr Lilley and the town council’s personnel panel. Entirely unnecessary showboating from Critchley and his gang.

peterj
All to massive applause from the well over 100 members of the public who were overwhelmingly in support of Cllr Lilley et al. Cllr Critchley’s speech in favour of his motion had to be cut short as he continually referred to the subject he had repeatedly been told he couldn’t talk about. The acting clerk told him in no uncertain terms that such talk could leave the… Read more »
Eagle eye
All will be known tomorrow therefore, I repeat: County Hall must be having a field day with Town and Parish councils tearing themselves apart. Nobody expects everyone to get along all the time but you do expect elected representatives to conduct themselves in a professional way. There is also an expectation that they will work for the good of those they represent. Therefore, instead of writing about… Read more »
objective1

All that is required is a simple denial from Cllr Lilley. That would not break any confidentiality rules.

peterj

Yeah but no but yeah…. sometimes denying something could be seen as confirming something. So generally when things are confidential you don’t say anything.

I think there is even a phrase that is sometimes used: but I can neither confirm nor deny it.

objective1

But if it isn’t true then just deny it! If it’s not true then no confidentiality rules apply! Not issuing a denial merely adds to the suspicion.

peterj
You miss my point. It is common for confidentiality clauses to state that you can’t discuss the matter *at all* – which includes confirming or denying things. Otherwise you could extract information using a series of yes/no questions. And before you mention it, no it isn’t that unusual. Lots of things at IW Council are bound by such clauses for example. Someone earlier also suggested that information… Read more »
objective1
You have missed my point. If there is no non-disclosure or gagging agreement then that can be explained without breaking any confidentiality rules. The allegation is that one exists but that a) it should not b) other Cllrs have not been informed of or approved it as they should), and c) Cllr Lilley and other Officers have refused to provide information about any of this to all… Read more »
peterj
But Cllr Lilley has already publicly stated he is bound by confidentially rules? Please be specific – exactly what standing orders are alleged to have been breached? One of the accusers also simultaneously ‘allege’ that they recklessly(!) sought professional legal and HR advice which suggests the standing orders are not at all clear and the matter complex. Certainly on a quick read-through the standing orders seem ambiguous… Read more »
objective1
What is Cllr Lilley being confidential about – he won’t tell all Cllrs in confidence what is going on as he is required to do? Just because he has deemed something confidential doesn’t mean it is – see the results of an IWC investigation into such an issue reported in The Observer today. Cllr Lilley has no more authority or decision making powers than any other Cllr… Read more »
peterj

Where exactly have I made an abusive comment?

Eagle eye

Last night’s meeting showed the deep division within Ryde Town council and residents are not best served by those councillors who brought it about. If they had any decency then they would stand down. Given the arrogance of some of those councillor’s I doubt they will.

tyke

Interesting that former Independent IWC leader Ian Stephens is so publicly at odds with his former chum Phil Jordan. Well, when I say ‘interesting’ I actually mean ‘entirely predictable’.

Barefoot
Such a shame that it came to this – people with good intentions on both sides. Without knowing the full facts/info, how can anything be resolved ? Maybe a complaint to the ICO by one of the 5 councillors would clarify & draw a line under this situation ? (Assuming that a FOI request has already been made) At least it would be over reasonably quickly &… Read more »
Eagle eye
Objective 1 Either you weren’t at the meeting on Friday or you have failed to grasp the reality of what took place. The councillors who had proposed the motions were defeated by council colleagues who supported the Mayor. Cllr. Lilley had no choice but to prevent some councillors from speaking as they were dangerously close to having Ryde Town Council sued for breach of confidentiality. Your constant… Read more »
objective1
Eagle Eye You are being wilfully blind. You said on posts and comments here and elsewhere before the meeting that the truth would come out at the meeting. If the allegations were untrue then the Cllrs you disagree with should resign. But what happened was that the allegations were proven true!!! Decisions were taken outside of Full Council that should not have been taken. There are non-disclosure… Read more »
objective1

PS. I am not against Cllr Lilley and his supporting Cllr friends.

Rather, I am for Openness, Transparency, Accountability and the implementation of requirements to protect the public purse and the interests of the community.

Mark L Francis

Perhaps Ryde Council should take lessons from Sandown Council, where the crime rate is now so low they have to call the police in to deal with the spectators at council meeyings – or is it councillors? – just to give them something to do.

Eagle eye

objective1

You need to take a long hard look at the statements you are making without any facts. Your words say more about you than the people you are commenting on. FACTS will be revealed tonight after which residents will know how to respond.

objective1

Do you know the FACTS Eagle eye? If so, how?

objective1
Yesterday there was a post on this page about the issue. Questions have been posed about what has been going on inside Ryde Town Council, and on Cllr Lilley’s IWC Cllr Facebook page but have not even been addressed, let alone answered. Those questions revolve around whether or not: a) the 2 Ryde Clerks have both left their posts claiming bullying by Officers b) in exchange for… Read more »
Food for Thought

Cllr Lilley is an honest and upright councillor who is doing his best for his town. I wonder how many other local councillor’s can say they are working for their communities rather than acting as victims?

objective1

That may well be true. But he and his fellow Cllrs must still work within legal and constitutional confines. As an IWC Cllr (as are some of his Ryde Cllr colleagues), and as an experienced Ryde Cllr, he will know that.

Benny C

Ryde Nayor never bothered to think ahead about a proper strategy for dealing with this issue, didn’t have the forethought to understand he impacts of his actions and now he wants sympathy!

objective1
The reason for the lack of denials by Mr Lilley and his supporting Cllrs has become clear. They were true! The 2 Clerks left with pay-offs without having not been made redundant with non-disclosure gagging agreements in place. This was never discussed or agreed with Full Council as legally and constitutionally required and several Cllrs were kept in the dark. Moreover, Cllr Lilley now says that because… Read more »
Geoff Brodie
Some facts to correct your distortions. The then Newport & Carisbrooke Clerk left us in October 2018 after becoming increasingly unhappy at his treatment by one particular councillor. His complaint to the Monitoring Officer was upheld, a begrudging apology was given, and he consequently still felt uncomfortable working with this gentleman. Now a councillor elsewhere. He left without any ‘pay off’, any ‘gagging order’ and a good… Read more »
objective1
GB As someone who is well used to showboating and running to the media you have missed the point entirely. Do you think it reasonable and “handled appropriately” that secretly a small group of Cllrs should break the law, Standing Orders, and Financial Regulations by giving ratepayer funded pay-offs to Clerks valued at many tens of thousands. And then sign non-disclosure gagging agreements without discussing or obtaining… Read more »
peterj
What evidence do you have that anyone broke the law? That’s a serious allegation – care to use your real name and/or repeat that at the next RTC meeting? I’m also still waiting for you to point out my abusive comments. You are repeatedly free and easy with wild allegations, not so much on the tiresome business of actual facts. It is also somewhat ironic for you… Read more »
objective1
The Standing Orders and Financial Regulations are legal entities containing requirements from the 1972 Local Government Act and subsequent Acts such as the 2011 Localism Act. This includes references to the timescales for calling meetings, the need for Full Council Meetings to make key decisions and not individual or small groups of Cllrs without full visibility. There are also requirements to comply with the Nolan Principles on… Read more »
Geoff Brodie

You sir/madam are an anonymous coward. Give us your name and I will then respond in full

objective1

What difference does my name make? I am only discussing the issue, and putting my points across in a respectful manner. I am certainly not going to put myself forward to face the abuse you normally give out to people you disagree with

Geoff Brodie

Clearly just another troll

objective1

No – just a seeker of truth and justice.

truth

I think I sende a Labour Party member and one who belongs to a neighbouring Parish Council

truth

Picture in the Observer ?

objective1

Neither a Labour Party member or belonging to a neighbouring Parish Council.

Food for Thought

Council meetings are meetings held in public and not a public meeting. I was surprised to read about the behaviour of a Bembridge Parish Councillor who was in the audience at the meeting interrupting proceedings to advise a long serving and experienced clerk of her role as the legal officer of the council. Unacceptable behaviour in my book.

peterj
I had no idea he was a Bembridge Councillor. I would say he should know better – but obviously not given the state of Bembridge Council of late. Honestly though, the last thing we need is them coming over to our meetings to make things even worse. Absolute madness. To most people it sounded like an incoherent madman who appeared to be annoyed because they dared to… Read more »
Geoff Brodie
If it is who I think you mean he is quite truthful in his description of himself earlier under his nom de plume of ‘objective1’. He left the Labour party about a year ago over his opposition to its leftward drift and his parish council does not strictly speaking neighbour Ryde. He would though be the main person behind the ‘cult’ that has brought chaos to Bembridge… Read more »