‘Democracy has gone mad in York!’ Council accused of being ‘out of order and out of control’

City of York Council HQ. Photograph: YorkMix
30 Apr 2018 @ 8.19 pm
| News, Politics

York councillors have expressed disappointment that they still haven’t seen a controversial report into their own meeting – despite telling senior officers to hand it over nearly three weeks ago.

Tonight (Monday April 30) the audit and governance committee met to discuss a report into its own meeting in February 2017, but as the members still hadn’t seen the document they voted to defer the matter.

And members of the public lined up to berate the council for their handling of the affair.

‘Neither acceptable or appropriate’

Cllr Stephen Fenton said they were disappointed not to have received an unredacted version of the report – which they asked for on April 11.

He added: “We do not believe it is acceptable or appropriate to be asked to consider the full recommendations or to make any further recommendations without having had advance sight of the report.”

At the beginning of last night’s short meeting the councillors heard from public speakers – who were warned by chairman Cllr Fiona Derbyshire not to say anything defamatory.

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Matthew Laverack said the council was “out of order and out of control”, and that attempts were being made to shut down investigations and sweep things under the carpet.

“It is sincerely hoped that members of this committee will ensure this does not happen,” he added.

Gwen Swinburn said: “Democracy has gone mad in York. We voted the councillors into power, statutory officers are there to serve the councillors not keep them in the dark.

“Treating the members this way is demeaning and debasing and it makes a nonsense of our democracy.”