Two councillors have quit Ryde Town Council in the wake of Friday’s meeting, when ‘no confidence’ motions in the mayor, deputy and three other members were defeated.
Julian Critchley and Jim Moody, both of whom signed a letter calling for the meeting, have resigned today (Monday), with immediate effect.
Lack of transparency, inclusion and respect
They were among seven councillors who called for the meeting, citing a lack of transparency, inclusion and respect shown towards colleagues after two clerks left the council.
The signatories said a town council panel negotiated the clerks’ terms without the proper authority.
Investigation agreed to
At the meeting (catch up here), councillors who proposed the ‘no confidence’ motions called for an investigation into the proceedings, which the mayor, Cllr Michael Lilley, agreed to.
Complaints filed with IWC
Cllr Lilley also said he had filed complaints against some of his fellow councillors, claiming they had breached the code of conduct, although he did not say who.
Members who resign cannot be pursued by the monitoring officer.
Critchley: “Cannot reconcile recent decisions with my beliefs”
OnTheWight approached Critchley and Moody for comment.
Julian Critchley initially told OnTheWight had no comment for make, but later sent this statement,
“When I added my name to those of the six other councillors who put forward the motions of no confidence, I did not do so lightly. I believe strongly in transparency and accountability in the use of public money, and have always argued that case in Ryde Town Council. I argued against precept rises for Ryde, because I don’t believe residents should have to pay more in hard times. I also consistently voted against the exclusion of press and public from meetings, as I believe the public should always be able to see how their money is being spent, why it is being spent, and who is spending it.
“I cannot reconcile recent decisions with my beliefs about the need for accountability and due process in the use of public money. Nor can I accept accountability for significant unbudgeted spending decisions made, in my view, without due process and without the prior knowledge of the majority of Councillors. All councillors must be able to account for how the precept is spent and explain that to the residents they represent. I could no longer do so, and so I felt I had no alternative but to resign.
“It has been my privilege to serve as a councillor for the ward in which I live, in the great town of Ryde. I would like to thank the past and present staff of Ryde Town Council for all their good work and for the support they have given me. I would also like to pay tribute to the good works of my fellow councillors who freely offer their services to serve the people of Ryde with commitment and integrity. I wish them all the best for the future.”
Moody: “Council’s probity in question”
Jim Moody said,
“I can no longer be part of Ryde Town Council now that a majority of its councillors are prepared to embrace, in my view, a cover up of what I see as serious wrongdoing.
“The Council’s probity is in question. As a magistrate I swore to uphold justice and I held to that oath in elected public office, too.
“In my view, closed meetings without legitimacy and use of post hoc and majoritarianist ratification without proper debate and scrutiny is an attack on basic democracy and ultimately the rights of the electorate of Ryde. It is not be countenanced.”
4.24pm 20th Jan 2020 – Added response from Critchley.
9.07pm 21 Jan 2020 – Added response from Moody.
12.29pm 21 Jan 2020 – Added further comment from Critchley.
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