THE 2012 Cramlington Town Council AGM could have been a re-run of the 2011 meeting.
Last year the ruling Lib Dem members made changes to the standing orders and reduced the number of full council meetings, also introducing restrictions on how and when the public could raise questions.
This has proved unpopular and we have made our feelings quite clear.
So it was hoped that some changes would be made to these rules at this year’s meeting, and they did.
For this year they have decided to arrange a further three question sessions to the existing annual town meeting, though after intervention from the opposition they did agree to hold these in each of four areas across Cramlington, and agreed to remove a proposed ‘one question only’ and replace it with ‘at the discretion of the chair’ rule.
They will, no doubt, argue that this means more question time, but if an issue arises you would have to wait up to three months to ask a question, and by then it may be too late.
So when are these meetings to take place? They haven’t decided that yet.
Despite a proposal from the Conservative leader to reinstate the monthly meetings as a public request, the vote was controlled by the Lib Dems and this remained the course for the remainder of the meeting.
Each vote being equal but carried by the deciding vote of the chairman.
They also took the step of gagging councillors from speaking to the press or using other media. At what point did our democracy become a dictatorship?
It should have been obvious by the dissatisfaction of the public attending this and previous meetings that we want to see a return to the monthly meetings with public question time.
MR M SWINBURN