— after mayor rejected no-confidence motion against town clerk
ALLIANCE for Change (AFC) Councillor Sherod Duncan has said that he will be writing the Local Government Commission (LGC) to complain of a number of breaches that he saw evident in the procedure used on Monday, to deal with the no-confidence motion he filed against Town Clerk Royston King.
In an invited comment, Duncan told Chronicle on Tuesday that he also intends to file an official complaint with the LGC on the conduct of the Town Clerk Royston King.
The motion was rejected at Monday’s statutory meeting on the basis that only the LGC can discipline King. Duncan’s motion, however, only sought a vote of no-confidence in the Town Clerk and mentioned nothing about disciplinary action.
Apart from approaching the LGC, Duncan said he has already contacted his lawyer to secure legal advice on the way forward.
Mayor Patricia Chase-Green last Monday threw out Duncan’s motion, citing legal advice from attorney-at-law and former Magistrate Maxwell Edwards that King can only be disciplined by the LGC.
The motion, seconded by Deputy Mayor Lionel Jaikarran, not only spoke to a number of shortcomings on King’s part, but also accused him of acting outside of the interests of the citizens of Georgetown.
It also accused King of showing “total disregard” for the laws governing the municipality, which adumbrate the role of the Town Clerk and Council, and set the latter as the supreme decision-making body.
“I advise that the motion, if passed in its present form, would be otiose, nugatory, incompetent, ineffectual and of no legal effect,” was the advice given.
Under the Municipal and District Councils Act, Chapter 28:01, a Town Clerk cannot be disciplined by the City Council; only by the LGC, which became operational on October 23, 2017, the mayor said, in reading Maxwell’s advice to councillors. And even if the no-confidence vote was carried, it would not have been binding on the LGC as the disciplinary authority.
“The proposed mover of the motion is not a member of the LGC, nor is he to be presumed to be acting under delegated authority,” the lawyer advised, adding that Duncan’s motion should be limited only to a discussion of his allegations.
Chase-Green, as directed by the lawyer’s advice, asked Duncan to amend his motion by removing the “vote of no confidence” aspect of it. But he refused, resulting in the mayor ruling that the motion will not be allowed.
Duncan said he found it strange that the mayor read a legal response to his motion even before he was afforded an opportunity to speak on it.
He also pointed out that the lawyer King secured the advice from is the husband of a sitting councillor, Noelle Chow-Chee.
Duncan argued that King was the one who deemed the motion fit enough to be placed on the agenda, but through his legal advice, was later saying that it is unqualified.
“The town clerk procured legal advice that the mayor, Her Worship Patricia Chase-Green, admitted was not asked for by Council, but was read out before my motion,” he later commented on a social media post.
“Her Worship said the town clerk procured the legal advice because the matter concerns him. The advice was later accepted by Council ahead of my tabled motion.”
Duncan said he believes the legal advice is biased and against natural justice, as it was procured from the husband of a sitting councillor, Noelle Chow-Chee, “who is clearly against any sanctioning of the Town Clerk.”
“So, in effect, the mayor followed the advice of an individual who has no ` authority at Local Government; whose advice was not sought by the Council but by the town clerk who is at the centre of the motion in question.”