A LABOUR councillor and former chair of her local community council is facing calls for her disqualification over claims she has not attended any meetings for six months.
Independent members of the Labour-majority Brackla Community Council have said Cllr Margaret Phelan should be disqualified from her position, claiming the last meeting she was at was in September of 2022.
They referred to section 85 of the Local Government Act of 1972, which says that if a member doesn’t attend a meeting for six consecutive months or more without approval from the authority, they will cease to be a member.
However, Labour members have disputed the request, saying an HR committee meeting Cllr Phelan attended in October of 2022 allows her to remain in her position as town councillor.
This was countered by the five independent members on the council who said the meeting in question was inquorate, meaning not enough members were in attendance, as well as claiming it was not properly recorded, opened or adjourned.
The opinion of the council was initially backed by community council body, One Voice Wales, but the dispute currently centres on the grey area of whether or not the meeting held in October, 2022 should be able to count towards resetting Cllr Phelan’s six month timer or not.
The dispute has become increasingly sour in previous months, with numerous accusations of improper conduct levied back and forth, along with debates over whether or not the matter has been settled.
Independent member, Cllr.Keith Hughes, said the issue was important to residents and that he and other members would be pushing for a decision as soon as possible.
He said: “I accept that in any town or community council there will always be an imbalance when it comes to a vote, but I would hope that this is countered by the rules regulations and interventions of the clerk.
“The reality is the member hasn’t been in attendance since September of 2022, and it’s very important to us and to members of the community that this is resolved as soon as possible. We’ve tried everything to debate this properly and need a resolution.”
While representatives of Brackla Community Council said they were unable to comment further at the moment, the matter is once again on the agenda for discussion at the next full meeting of Brackla Community Council on June 15, 2023.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service is attempting to contact Cllr Phelan for comment and we will add this if we receive a response.