– as town clerk distributes meeting agenda without approval
GEORGETOWN Mayor, Ubraj Narine, called off the statutory meeting of the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) on Monday because he said Town Clerk, Sharon Harry, printed and distributed the meeting agenda without first sending it to him for approval.
The mayor, upset that this is the third time that Harry is preventing him from exercising his prerogative as mayor and chairman of the meeting, said he will not continue to tolerate such behaviour from the town clerk.
“It is not once, it is not twice; this is the third time and I gave a warning already,” Narine told reporters in his office shortly after 14:00hrs when the meeting was slated to begin.
Councillors did not show up because they were told via their Whatsapp group that the meeting would not be held. However, City Engineer, Colvern Venture; Solid Waste Management Director, Walter Narine; and Chief Constable, Andrew Foo were seen liming in City Hall’s precincts as they were only informed of the cancellation when they showed up for the meeting.
The mayor and councillors are supposed to be in receipt of the agenda at least 48 hours before the statutory meeting. As such, Narine said he was in office last Saturday awaiting the agenda and learned of councillors receiving theirs even before he was able to peruse it.
“People must understand that this is not an administration meeting; it’s a council meeting. So I am placed there by the councillors to represent them, and I must know, as chairman, what is on the agenda before it is being circulated. I’m no madman to tell Ms. Harry the statutory is off,” the mayor said, adding that he is still hoping the meeting will be held before the end of the week.
In a letter to Harry about the issue, Narine said he was frustrated and disappointed that the agenda was printed before he could see it. “It seems as though you are taking my words for granted and I am very much displeased about the way you’re acting towards your responsibility. Please madam, do get your act together and let us carry out the business of this council in the way it should be done,” the mayor wrote.
While Harry attempted to explain that there was an issue with the printing machine, Narine said he would not accept this explanation. “You cannot find excuses all the time. I will not tolerate that. If you’re finding excuse for those things, you’re incompetent. We must not throw blame on the equipment.”
Deputy Mayor, Alfred Mentore, said Harry’s actions were disrespectful. “The tail can’t wag the dog; the dog must wag the tail. This matter was deliberated earlier and I think the mayor spared the town clerk any embarrassment at the time. To continue to not allow the mayor his authority or his prerogative to do what he is supposed to do as chairman is disrespectful.”
Meanwhile, the town clerk offered that issues arose with the printing machine which resulted in the administration replicating the agenda late.
“The front page of the meeting is usually given to the mayor for him to have a look at prior to us printing the agenda. Because of the fact that…we had a number of meetings, for some reason, it didn’t go across to the mayor, but the administration went ahead and did the agenda and the mayor, because he had not seen the front page, asked that we not have a meeting,” Harry told reporters in his office on Monday.
Harry said she had a very packed day last Friday and had to attend several meetings, in addition to the machine not being in working order. “Because of that, your attention had to be at a number of places, and as human beings, errors are made, and that was an oversight on my part.”
“Managers manage differently and there are different styles to management. I think that the mayor is of the view that he’s being taken for granted, which of course is not so,” Harry expressed.
While not seeking to cast blame elsewhere, Harry said had she gotten a little reminder by way of phone call on Friday, the document might have been sent over to the mayor.