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•* 1- BRIDGEND NOTES. The reports of the proceedings at the last meet- ing of the Bridgend Local Board were read with a great deal of interest, and many were not at all reluctant to express their individual opinion as to the action of the various members. One cannot help thinking what different sentiments the speakers would have expressed had the result of the action of Miss Talbot against the Board been different. Then, instead of certain members try- ing to disclaim all responsibility, and trying to saddle the clerk with the responsibility which really belongs to themselves, they would be con- gratulating the Board and the ratepayers for the energetic action brought about by their votes and support. It is not a pleasant thing to come out of an action in any court second best, but seeiug that whatever action was taken by the Board with a full knowledge that it would result in an action at law, those gentlemen who thought it a generous action to try to throw all the blame (if there is any blame) on their executive officer were, in our opinion, very much mistaken if they thought that the ratepayers would approve of such conduct. Perhaps, however, the discussion, heated though it was, will have a good effect if the members take that lesson from it which they might derive. If it has the effect of making the members more careful what they say at the Board, the time spent will not have been wasted. It is a fact, which cannot be disputed, that at most Board or Committee meetings there are one or two members who are m"re to the fore than others in making statements of a general nature, which, when subjected to a close inspection, turn out to have been made on wrong premises. Doubtless, had the Board been fully aware of the nature of the evidence which those members said they could rely upon to prove that the site in dis- pute belonged to the public, they would have paused before acting in the manner they did, and certainly the clerk, from his experience and know- ledge of legal matters, would have been the first to have so advised the Board but when one or two members stated that they could prove certain things, and then asked their Clerk that if they could prove those things, what was their position in point of law, then the Clerk was perfectly justified in advising the Board that they had good ground of action, and that an action for trepass brought by Miss Talbot would probably result in favour of the Board. It is wonderfuld how universal is the tendency of all Boards and com- mittees when they have taken a false step to turn round and accuse their servants of having caused such a decision to be arrived at, and apparently the Bridgend Local Board is no exception, but possesses- this tendency in as marked a degree as. similarly constituted bodies. But there was one allegation made by Mr. Powell which deserves special notice. He asserted that instead of the Clerk being- the servant of the Board he acted as if he wished to master the whole lot of us"—to use Mr. Powell's elegant language. A careful perusal of many reports of past meetings of the Bridgend Local Board does not. by any means, give one the impression that, the Clerk has in any way exceeded or neglected his duties, and the only explanation which can justify the serious allegation to which we refer, is that it was made by Mr. Powell in the heat of debate. Perhaps, at a future meeting, he will see fit to substaniate his statement or to withdraw it. as it is certainly calculated to injuriously affect the clerk in the eyes of that section of the public who take the words of a member of a representative body to be accurate statements of facts, and who do not make allowances for the heat engendered in debate. The Chairman also made the remark, ó, We are supposed to be guided by the Clerk," to which the Clerk promptly added, On points of law," and this view of the clerk's duty is one which most unbiassed ratepayers will entertain. When gentle- men are elected upon public bodies, such as a Local Board, they are assumed to be capable of forming their own opinions on matters of public business. Had the clerk entertained the opinion of his duty which the chairman seemed to have, and supposing he had carried such an opinion of his office into practice, then we should imagine there would soon be some ground for such complaints as those of Mr. Pewell, to which we referred above. Mr. McG-aul seemed to think that the lessons of this incident would speedily be lost sight of—an opinion which it is to be hoped will not be realised, and the Chairman wound up the dis- cussion by pleading that credit should be given to the members who had visited the spot in ques- tion for having acted as they thought would be best for the public. Probably the ratepayers will be quite willing to accord those members the credit to which they are entitled, but the members should not be quite so ready to cast stones at each other, and make allegations and insinuations which are personally offensive to any present. > JL— J'lLIP,




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