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Chairman's Column - 21 December 2021

Published on Tuesday, 21st December 2021

Enough is Enough

Another Meeting Disrupted

“You must be wondering what on earth is going on at Maldon District Council after a second meeting was disrupted and had to close with unfinished business, following a District Councillor’s refusal to behave properly. This is the second time this has happened in just over a month.

“The Council Chamber should be a place of order where Councillors are bound by a Code of Conduct and are expected to challenge decisions properly and responsibly. Should a Council Member misbehave by ignoring the rules, the Chairman can propose that the Councillor ‘not be heard’. This doesn’t mean of course that you can’t actually hear what they are saying! It is just that it will carry no importance and the view or opinion of that named person will be disregarded. This action has to be agreed by the majority of the Council in order for it to take place.

“If that person continues to misbehave (which is not only disruptive but very rude!), the Chairman can propose that they leave the meeting. Again, this has to be agreed by Councillors and then when the individual concerned leaves, the business of the meeting continues. Refusing to obey a resolution of the Council prevents it from transacting its business.

“Councillors were set to discuss important agenda items at last week’s meeting. They had to be shelved last month when the previous meeting also ended abruptly. That urgent business included the Maldon District Local Development Plan, the Langford and Ulting Neighbourhood Plan, a consultation response to Chelmsford City Council on a proposal to build more than 1,000 homes in South Woodham Ferrers and the ratification of a new Leader of The Council. Whilst the Council has delegation processes and emergency powers that will ensure we transact our business and approve papers, to ensure the Council continues to deliver for our residents, it is very sad that the behaviour of one Member of the council who set out to disrupt the democratic process, prevented those papers being fully debated and considered by the Councillors you elected to represent you. 

“I was appalled to hear that as Councillors left the building, they were verbally abused by a small number of individuals who don’t seem to realise that being a Council Officer or Member is performing a public duty which should be done with dignity, honesty and without fear. Perhaps this is the time of year to consider the good work undertaken by all key workers who are working tirelessly for the good of local people.

“May I take this opportunity on behalf of Maldon District Council to wish you, the residents of Maldon District, and your families, peace, health and happiness over the Christmas period. Please take care of each other and consider those less fortunate than ourselves.”

Councillor Mark Heard's signature
Councillor Mark S. Heard
Chairman of Maldon District Council