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A LIVELY VESTRY MEETING AT…

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A LIVELY VESTRY MEETING AT BARRY. THE RATEPAYERS STAND UPON THEIR RIGHTS. Public feeling has ran rather high in the parish of Barry respecting the application made by the Assistant Overseer, (Mr. Blackmore) for an in- crease of salary. A meeting was held on the 10th, but on account of the abruptness with which Vestry meetings are usually called and held it was deemed advisable by the majority of the meeting to adjourn until the 23rd. It was at first thought that an endeavour would be made to hold the meeting in the morning, which, of course, would have debarred the working classes attending. However, we are pleased to say that the Vicar, the Rev. Canon Allen, M.A., fixed the meeting for 7 o'clock in the evening-a very convenient time for all parties-in the Parish Hall. On arriving at the meeting place on Thursday evening we found a goodly number of parishioners already assembled, although the hands of the clock pointed to a few minutes before seven. Amongst those present we noticed Mr. S. A. Williams (overseer), Mr. E. F. Blackmore (assist- ant overseer), Rev. Du Heaume, Rev. Christmas Lewis, Captain Murrel, Captain Whall, Dr. Kelly, Mr. John Lowden, Mr. Alderman Meggitt, Mr. E. 8. Johnson. Mr. David Morgan, Mr. Thorne. Mr. Waddell, Mr. Money, Mr. Small, Mr. Johns, Mr. J. Williams. Mr. Pardoe, Mr. Davies, Mr. F. W. Taylor. Mr. G-ardener, Mr. Arnold. Mr. Flookes, Mr. Griffin, Mr. Lloyd. Mr. Edwards. Mr. Lougher, Mr. Williams, Mr. Thomas, Mr. Collins, Mr. Harry Davies. Canon Allen was in his place, and as soon as convenient suggested that the proceedings had better commence. Of course there was no objec- tion to such a course, as all were anxious to see the business which they had assembled to transact disposed of. THE POSITION WAS EXPLAINED by the Vicar, but he had scarcely said half-a- dozen words before the doors of the room opened, and the main body of the Opposition trouped in and took their seats. Starting afresh Canon Allen read the minutes of the previous meeting, which clearly showed that the first gathering was by no means of one opinion. In fact while one party were inclined to give the assistant overseer 425 increase to his salary of Y.20 per annum, the other side raised strong objections, and a third party endeavoured to settle the affair by adding £ 10 to Mr. Blackmore's salary. That was the position of affairs when the first meeting was adjourned, and the Vicar now congratulated the ratepayers upon the way in which they had attended the Vestry meeting, and taken part in public affairs. Hear, hear," said someone at the back of the hall, as the Chairman spoke of the representative character of the assembly. After hoping that the whole matter would be promptly settled and in a liberal spirt, he took to task those who had shown their interest in the affair by attending. If they were not rate- payers in the parish of Barry they had no right to be present, and were not entitled to a vote. It was a parish Vestry meeting. "How are yam going to tell who are rate- payers ?" asked someone from the body of the hall. The Canon's reply was to the point, and he said he took ic for granted that no one who had not a vote would attend or give one. If they did vote they were liable to be called to account for so doing. MT. Williams desired to know if anyone could remain in the room if he was not a ratepayer, but the Chairman did not think there was any neces- sity to go so far as that. Mr. C. Morgan, however, was quite up to date with the law, and said that if the letter of it were carried out no one who was not a ratepayer had any right there. Mr. H. Davies was brought to his feet by this remark, and asked whether it was not a fact that every householder in the district was a ratepayer ? The Chairman agreed with Mr. Davies, and thought every householder was ipso facto a rate- payer. THE FIRST SIGN OF OPPOSITION was seen when Mr. Morgan suggested that, a.s the meeting had also been called for the purpose of electing overseers, it would be well to proceed with that business first, but the loud cries of No, no," promptly settled that question. Mr. Woodham was evidently determined to put matters a little straight, and suggested that it I 9 would be well to put the amendments moved at the last meeting in their respective order before the present meeting. The Chairman at once agreed with this sugges- tion, and explained that Mr. Johnson had moved, as an amendment to Mr. L. A. Williams' motien to raise the salary to C 45, that it be increased to d630for the next 12 months. Mr. Thorne, who explained that he was absent on the last occasion, was apparently anxious to begin again, and so proposed that the previous motions and amendments be rescinded. The cheers which greeted this proposition showed that the majority were of the same opinion, and when the Chairman added that he quite agreed with it, there was more lung exercise. Mr. Williams then took up the matter, and en- deavoured TO BRING ABOUT A CQMPROMISE. He said he had hoped to have settled the question without makinsr a speech that evening, but as things had taken a different course he had a few words to say. As on the previous occasion he brought home to their minds the fact that during the time Mr. Blackmore had held the position of assistant overseer he had done his work well. If there were any gentlemen in the room who had been acquainted with the office of overseer they would bear him out in saying that X20 a year was a miserable salary for a man who had te do the work for 459 assessments. Mr. Blackmore had been employed by the parish for seven months. His predecessor's salary had been raised in 1891 from £ 10 to 420 per annum, and at which time the number of assessments was 140. When Mr. Blackmere took office the number had increased to 285, and now there were 459. In the parish ef Merthyrdovan the assistant overseer was paid JE70 for 700 assessments, Penarth had 1,750, and the assistant overseers received £ 175, and the basis was the same in Cadoxton. It was the rule to, give jElO for every 100 assessments, so that for 459 in Barry MR. BLACKMORE SHOULD RECEIVE £ 45. That would place him on the same footing as the other officials. Then the speaker touched upon a line of argument which apparently appealed more to the sympathies of his hearers, judging from the "hear, hear" which greeted his utterances. He said it had been argued that there were a large number of empty houses, and that times had been very hard. In consequence of that he had deter- mined to modify his former motion, and propose that the salary of Mr. Blackmore be increased from .£20 to £35. Strange to say, the majority of those assembled expressed no opinion then upon this proposal, and Mr. Williams proceeded to again remind them that Mr. Blackmore had dene his work well, and appealed to them as Trade Unionists to reward him according to his labour. (Hear, hear.) He deserved the increase, and should receive it. A gentleman then asked whether it was a fact that Mr. Llewellyn in Penarth collected the Local Board and ether rates, and a reply in the affirma- tive brought forth applause. Mr. Williams was quite prepared for anything that might arise in that direction, and at once read a letter from Mr. Llewellyn, who said he received £ 125 per annum as collector, A50 as assistant overseer, and that the number of assessments was' 1,750. In the absence of Mr. Vaughan, who was pre- vented from attending by an attack of influenza, Mr. Lowdea seconded the proposition. He told the meeting- that he had been a former overseer, and knew the work of Mr. Blackmore. That being the ease, he was JUSTIFIED IN SECONDING THE INCREASE OF £ 15. After appealing to the ratepayers to treat their officials ia the same manner as they wished their employers to treat them, he dwelt upon the fact that the same perion was not of necessity appointe i j to the positions of collector and assistant overseer. If the offices were divided among two persons the cost would be greater to the parish. Mr. Luekin said-he was prepared to support the increase. It was, he thought, small enough for any man, especially as he had to pay to a Guarantee Fund out of his own pocket. He believed also that Mr. Blackmore had done his work well. When the speaker sat down silence fell on the assembly, and Canon Allen believing that there was no opposition to the proposal was about to put it to the meeting. Those, however, who thought things were to be then settled were doomed to disappointment. A SCENE. Mr. Gardener rose, but for a little while did not speak. At last he submitted that Mr. Blackmore had done his work too weil.* (Applause.) Up to this point things had been rather quiet, but now the slumbering spirit of opposition showed itself. No sooner had the applause died out than Mr. Taylor was upon the track of Mr. Gardener in a moment, asserting that he was not a ratepayer. Mr. Davies If he is not a ratepayer it is a shame to the collector and those responsible for the rates for not putting him on the ratebook. (Applause.) Mr. Gardener Mr. Blaokmore has called for both rates, and I have paid them. A Voice Where do you live ?" Mr. Gardener No. 11, Glamorgan-street. Several Voices Where is that V A Voice: I never heard such a thing as a person living at No. 11, Glamorgan-street not a ratepayer. Mr. Blackmore here handed the ratebook to the Chairman, who said the name of Ann Elizabeth Gardener appeared there. Is that your wife, Mr. Gardenerasked the Chairman. Mr. Gardener I am responsible for the rates. I have paid Mr. Blackmore both of them. Chairman Is Ann Elizabeth Gardener your wife ? _0- Mr. Gardener She is my daughter. Mr. Blackmore When I took charge of the rate book I found as the occupier of No. 11, Glamorgan-street, the name of Ann Elizabeth Gardener. It was given to understand it was the wish of the occupier of the house that the name should remain. I had no reason given, and the name of Ann Elizabeth Gardener remained on the voting list. There has never been any respect in any shape or form that the name should be altered. Mr. Gardener I have been held responsible for the rates. No one but me. (Applause.) Chairman I am afraid if your name is not down I must rule that you are not a ratepayer. Mr. Luskin He is not entitled, sir. Mr. H. Davies In whose name are the demand notes made out, William Gardener or his daughter's ? Mr. Blackmore Mr. Gardener's name has never appeared on any demand note or receipt ? Mr. H. Davies Who paid the rates. William Gardener or his daughter ? No answer was returned to this question, and the Chairman then ruled that Mr. Gardener was NOT ENTITLED TO VOTE OR SPEAK. Ne sooner had Mr. Gardener been ruled out of order, than I Mr. Thorne proposed that the salary of Mr. Blackmore be increased to £ 26 per annum. This proposal was applauded, as were also the re- marks which followed, when the mover said he failed to see how the assessments had more than doubled themselves during a period of depression. Mr. Davies seconded the amendment, and assured the meeting that trade was very bad. Someone was anxious to know how many rate- payers Mr. Blackmore had to call upon far the money. Mr. Williams replied that the money for the 459 assessments was collected from 130 persons. In the parish of Merthyrdovan 700 assessments were collected from 297 persons. THE CLOSURE was then moved, and Mr. Money propcsed that the voting be by ballot, which was seconded by Mr. Parry. This proposal brought up Mr. Taylor, who asked how they proposed recsrding the votes, if by ballot, of those persons who were entitled to more than one vote. The Chairman naturally expressed surprise at such a question, and pleasantly observed he thought it was the day of one man one vote. Mr. Taylor was not to be passed on one side by such a suggestion, and reminded the chairman that every person who was rated at more than X 5 0 was entitled to one vote for every s625, up to six votes. More than that, voting by ballot at parish meet- ings was illegal. It was now the Chairman's turn, and he informed the meeting. and Mr. Taylor, that from inquiries he had made he found that voting by ballot was not illegal. (Applause.) It appeared that plural voting was allowed. Upon being put to the meeting it was decided to take the voting by show of hands. Captain Whall and Dr. Kelly having been ap- pointed tellers, the voting was as fallows For A26 per annum 56 ,,£35 „ 15 Majority 41 TIT FOR TAT. Mr. Taylor protested that a ratepayer from the parish of Merthyrdovan had voted for the £ 26 amendment. The Chairman Then he had no right to do so. I mast disallow that vote. It will therefore be 55 for the amendment. A Voice I protest against a ratepayer from Merthyrdovan voting. He voted for the £ 35. (Applause.) Mr. Taylor: He was mistaken, Mr. Chairman, as to the boundary of the parish. (Laughter.) The Chairman I must strike off that vote also. The numbers will therefore be recorded as 55 for £26, and 14 for £35. (Applause.) THE APPOINTMENT OF OVERSEERS. The remaining basiness was the jiomination of overseers. It afforded eonsiderable amusement, and the opposing sections apparently greatly enjoyed the fun of nominating their opponents to this office. In the end it was decided to submit the names of the following gentlemen to the jus- tices for their selection of two to fill the position of everseers for the parish for the ensuing year Messrs. H. J. Money, E. S. Jehnson, F. Small, and F. W. Taylor. The meeting closed with a vote of thanks to Canon Allen for presiding. .tw <jM—

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