It shouldn’t happen to a Parish Council Chairman…


Heads you're co-opted...

Things didn’t go entirely according to plan at Botley’s Parish Council’s meeting on 13th December.  If  it had also been a Friday, Friday the 13th, it would have been perfect…!

Item 1 on the Agenda was to co-opt one of three applicants keen to fill the vacant seat on the Parish Council. Applicants had previously submitted written statements to the Councillors and none wished to say anything else to the meeting so all that had to be done was co-opt somebody.

Clearly delighted to be blessed with three excellent applicants, Chairman Cllr Colin Mercer thus announced that two rounds of voting would be needed.

Round 1 would see the applicant with the lowest number of votes eliminated

Round 2 would see the person with the greatest number of votes elected.

Ballot slips were duly handed out to the ten parish Councillors who were present that evening and the first round commenced.

The result of the first round was;

  • Mr Hunter 3
  • Mr Radmoor 3
  • Mrs Turner 4

Somewhat amused at the outcome, Cllr Mercer sensibly decided to have a tie-breaker. The result of that was;

  • Mr Hunter 3
  • Mr Radmoor 7

Mr Hunter was therefore eliminated.

Round 2 then got underway, with the result as follows

  • Mr Radmoor 5
  • Mrs Turner 5

There was no point holding another tie-breaker, as none of the Councillors were likely to change their minds.

Cllr Mercer declined the suggestion of using his casting vote and suggested that he didn’t really know how to solve the problem.  The situation was beyond his experience. The only other situation that he had encountered, which was broadly similar to this, was settled on the toss of a coin. It was however important that the process was fair, he added.

There’s was a short period of puzzled bewilderment around the table, with nobody having any better idea until Cllr Cathie Fraser retrieved the situation by suggesting that as there was only four months until the next election, perhaps the council should decide not to co-opt anybody at the moment and let the electorate decide next May.

That was duly proposed, seconded and unanimously carried by a very relieved show of hands.

The irony is that if the voting process had used the first-past the post system, instead of a more complex system requiring multiple rounds of voting, it would have produced a clear winner. Mrs Turner (n.b. no relation..!)

Hard luck Mrs T.

Ray Turner

Formerly a Civil-Servant and IT Specialist at ONS, Ray is now semi-retired and spare-time self-employed. He contributes to Eastleigh News on a voluntary basis and is also an administrator for the site. 

  2 comments for “It shouldn’t happen to a Parish Council Chairman…

  1. December 14, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Great to hear of democracy in action where decesions are made…erm well, perhaps not then!!

    • December 14, 2011 at 9:57 pm

      The Council tried very hard to be fair, but snookered itself.

      The tragedy is that it had three excellent candidates and managed to select nobody.

      Definitely one for the next edition of the Book of Heroic failures

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