‘A waste of time’ - councillor blasts fellow members during meeting

Mansfield Civic Centre.
Mansfield Civic Centre.

A councillor has accused fellow members of ‘wasting everyone’s time’ during a recent meeting to decide Mansfield District Council’s committees chairmen for the upcoming year.

What should have been a routine exercise during the annual general meeting at the Civic Centre had tempers flaring as Labour councillors clashed with members of the Mansfield Independent Forum (MIF) when each nominated a candidate for the roles.

This included the positions of council chairman, vice-chairman, chairman of the planning committee, licensing committee and the scrutiny committees among others.

With the MIF enjoying a majority of 20 members (including a coalition with two UKIP members and the mayor), over Labour’s 17 members, the vote for each role predictably resulted in 20 to 17 in favour of the MIF candidates.

However, the Labour members became angry when the MIF requested that every vote be recorded - meaning each of the 37 councillors present had to shout out the name of the candidate they were voting for.

Usually, the members can vote electronically and the result can be returned within seconds.

Because of the request for the recorded vote, many Labour members became frustrated by the time it took.

Speaking tongue-in-cheek, Labour member John Smart, who is 72 year-old, said: “At my time of life, every minute is precious to me because I haven’t got many left.

“If we were doing this (insisting on a recorded vote) we would have been called all the names under the sun.

“Every result on this paper will end up 20/17. Why are we wasting everyone’s time?”

Meanwhile, other Labour councillors could be heard accusing the MIF of ‘Punch and Judy politics’.

In response, MIF’s Councillor Mick Barton became animated and responded to one jibe across the room by saying: “It’s your democratic right, as it is ours.

“If you thought we were going to win every vote, why did you put anybody up?”

Meanwhile, MIF’s Stephen Harvey was named as council chairman for the next year, replacing MIF’s Councillor Martin Wright.

The vice-chairman was named as Kevin Brown, also from the MIF.