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Last Thursday’s public meeting
(the Independent Persons’ Selection Panel) which turned out to be almost entirely closed to the public presumably
ran out of time to complete its task, for last night it was repeated.
I didn’t think it was worth going again but John Watson (on the left in the photo) said he was keen to ask another question about our exclusion and I couldn’t risk any sort of disagreement with Councillor Cheryl Bacon going unrecorded.
The last time the Bacon chaired a meeting and a member of the public objected to the lack of transparency she later told the most amazing lies about what happened and the proof of it was hard to come by. Fortunately her story didn’t fit a variety of facts or the recollections of fellow Councillors and soon fell apart as lies tend to do.
Given the history I felt obliged to tag along with my recorder.
The public was kept out of the meeting until beyond the last minute. My recorder was already running as I entered the room and within the first twelve seconds of being in it I was twice mildly reprimanded by Councillor Bacon for not having already taken my seat. It was not the fault of the public that her meeting was starting late.
56 seconds later she asked us to leave. John Watson had other ideas and he “challenged the decision”. Councillor Bacon said he couldn’t.
He persisted with his point that the Localism Act demanded transparency but the Bacon was only able to point to the statement in the Agenda which demanded no transparency whatever.
The exchanges were reasonably civilised. John asked questions, the Chairman wouldn’t answer, that’s all there was to it and two minutes after the public was first asked to leave everyone did so.
Before the meeting began I was mistaken for an interviewee for the job of Independent Person and struck up a conversation with a lady who actually was. I mentioned that the meeting was advertised as ‘public’ and asked how she felt about being observed by all and sundry. She said she would have no objections whatsoever.
Now that really is transparency. I fear her application is now doomed to failure.