REPRESENTATIVE IMBALANCE?

The Isles of Scilly Council has been confronted with a petition which calls for a referendum to address what is described as "a representative imbalance." The petition with 150 signatures was proposed in Council by Councillor J.P. Greenlaw and seconded by Councillor G. Bilsborough.
The object of the petition appears to be to reduce the off-island councillors to 4 in total (1 for each off-island).
An article in the Cornishman on 24th July 1997 headed "Referendum call on representative imbalance" tells its readers that an Isles of Scilly Councillor has alleged a representative imbalance on the Islands' authority in favour of the off-islands, which he describes as an anomaly.  The article details various points mentioned within a document which was presented to the Islands' Council by Councillor Gordon Bilsborough.
Later in the same article it is stated that Council Chairman Colin Daly expressed his annoyance over the wording heading the petition which implied that he had said Off-Islanders had been critical of too much power remaining on St. Marys; saying that the words were those of the journalist and not his and therefore misleading.
The publication of the article has caused one reader to write to Scilly up to date expressing opinions which differ from those of Mr. Gordon Bilsborough and the signatories of the petition.  The letter is published in the letters section.

The article from which the offending wording was taken appeared in the Western Morning News, May 23rd, 1997.  The paragraph which contained the words read as follows:

The following Public Statement has been issued by Council Chairman, Colin Daly:
 
NOTICE
FROM THE CHAIRMAN
OF THE COUNCIL

REGARDING THE PETITION FOR A REFERENDUM PUT TO THE COUNCIL ON THE 29TH JULY 1997 FOR A CHANGE IN THE NUMBER OF COUNCILLORS FOR EACH ISLAND. 

To avoid any misunderstanding on how this matter was dealt with at the Council meeting I am reporting direct to you on this subject. 

The petition was submitted under Council's Standing Order 5. The Council did not decide "That a decision should be taken immediately on the issue".  So I followed (as I was bound to) the Standing Order which says .... "upon being moved and seconded" it shall "be referred without discussion to the next meeting" of a Committee decided by the Chairman for "consideration and report." I decided that the only appropriate Committee is Policy and Resources. 

As the Proposer and Seconder of the petition are not on the Policy and Resources Committee I have, with the agreement of the Chairman of that Committee, issued them a special invitation to its next meeting "To fully participate in the discussion of that item prior to its consideration by Full Council." 

The final decision on this subject will be taken by Full Council in open session. 

COUNCILLOR COLIN DALY 
CHAIRMAN OF THE COUNCIL 
Ist August 1997

 
 
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