Councillors try to figure out role of new area committee
THE ABSENCE of a job description made for a short inaugural meeting of the Gorey Municipal District last Tuesday afternoon.
With the abolition of Gorey Town Council, and scant detail regarding the responsibilities for the new Gorey Municipal District Councillors, the newly elected members were somewhat stymied when it came to laying down the ground rules for the new organisation.
A draft set of standing orders was presented to the meeting to give the councillors something to work with. These were adopted on the understanding they be discussed at a later date.
After the election of the chairman and vice-chairman, the councillors then had to decide when to hold their monthly meeting in Gorey. Cllr Robert Ireton suggested they consider holding two meetings a month, since the town council had been abolished. The chairman John Hegarty suggested they wait until they see if they can't get through all their business in one meeting. Cllr Malcolm Byrne said they could hold a second meeting in a month if there was a specific need.
He suggested they hold their meetings later than the suggested time of 2.30 p.m. to accommodate the members who are 'fortunate enough' to have jobs. He suggested 4 p.m.
The suggestion of evening meetings was rejected because of the 'no overtime policy' for staff from County Hall. Cllr Byrne wondered if a 'time in lieu' policy could be implemented, or if agendas could be adjusted to accommodate people who have to travel. He even suggested video conferencing for people who need to have an input into specific items.
'I have never had a problem with 2.30 p.m. meetings,' said Cllr Ireton. 'It's crazy at this stage to move the goalposts. People should have made up their minds whether they wanted to be on the Municipal Committee or if they wanted to keep their job.'
Cllr Fionntán O'Suilleabhain agreed with the suggestion of a later time, saying they 'weren't aware of meeting times' when they ran for election. He suggested a compromise time of 3.30 p.m. and this was agreed on.
Then they had to fix a day. Cllr Ireton suggested they hold meetings on the second Tuesday of every month. Cllr Mary Farrell asked if it could be another day, as she has a monthly meeting in Dungarvan on the second Tuesday of each month. They settled on the third Tuesday of each month instead.
'We still don't know what direction were going in,' commented Cllr Ireton.
District director Annette O'Neill said they are still learning about the new structure, as a lot of detail only came to them in the previous ten days. 'I find that a total insult to the people of Gorey and Wexford and Ireland,' replied Cllr Ireton.
Ms O'Neill said that people can be assured of continued quality of service, and that the work continues in the background. She added that training is being organised for the new councillors regarding their new roles, and things will be 'much clearer' in July.
'It's important that we get this right rather than having it done in a hurry,' said Cllr Pip Breen. 'It is appalling we haven't been given a job description yet.'
Their next meeting in Gorey is on Tuesday, July 15.