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THE COWLVD WATER BOARD.

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THE COWLVD WATER BOARD. THE meeting ofCoIwyn Bay Ratepayers held at the Public Hall, Colwyn Bay, of which a report appeared in our last issue, has the effect of, to some extent, resolving into distinct parties the accused and the accusers in the unpleasant wrangle which Is proceeding with regard to the doings of the unfortunate Cowlyd Water Board, and to that extent, and no more, as far as we can see, has been of some use. From our report we gather that the chief accuser is Mr Thomas Parry, Chairman of the Colwyn Bay District Council, and member of the Cowlyd Water Board the accused, apparently (we say ap- parently" advisedly, for even vet no direct charge is directly levelled at any particular per- son or persons) are the Rev W. Venabies- Williams, Chairman of the Cowlyd Water Board, who is also a member of the Colwvn Bay District Council, which he, by election, represents on the Cowlyd Board and the Clerk and En- gineer of the Scheme, viz., Messrs T. E. Parry and T. B. Farrington, both of whom are omcials of the Conway Corporation. It may be here pointed out, eri passant, that when he was ap- pointed Clerk to the Cowlyd Water Board, Mr T. E. Parry was Clerk to the Colwyn Bay Local Board, as well as Clerk to the Conway Corpora- tion. By implication, all the other members of the Cowlyd Water Board who do not endorse the (we will not say accusations, for what is advanced is hardly of sufficient denniteness to be so described, but) rejections cast by Mr Thomas Parry, are involved in the stigma which, apparently, is sought to be fixed upon the Rev W. Venables-Williams and the two omcials of the Cowlyd Water Board, viz., the Clerk and the Engineer. Assuming that Mr Thomas Parry Is desirous of taking up the role of accuser against the Chair- man and omcials of the Cowlyd Board (of which, it should always be remembered, Mr Parrv is himself a member, and has been from the begin- ning), we are tempted to remark that it is a curious position in our opinion, founding our opinion, as we do, on what Mr Parry has himself publicly stated, for Mr Parry (or anyone else similarly situated) to take up. Mr Parry's Is not the kind of action—if it is founded on no more seri- ous facts than can be gathered from his statement to the Colwyn Bay Ratepayers,—whtch is con- ducive to the promotion either of the carrying on of public business or of the interest of the ratepayers,' the latter a phrase which, by the way, occurs very frequently in the public utterances of some of the speakers on this subject. Had there been any ground for charges of mal- versatton against the officials, or of malfeasance against the Chairman of the Cowlyd Water Board, we should have been among the first to to give our hearty support to Mr Thomas Parry, or anyone else who had the courage to attempt to bring the delinquents to justice. But we are unable to gather from Mr Parry's statement which, be it observed, was a written one, and therefore, presumably, the deliberate expression of his deliberate and matured convictions, any dennite charge of the kind we have named, against either the Chairman, or the Clerk, or the Engineer of the Cowlyd Water Board, and, failing this,we repeat that the action taken by Mr Thomas Parry, who is Chairman of one important public body, and member of at least two other important public bodies, is, to put it mildly, a curious one. We reiterate the fact that Mr Parry is the Chair- man of one important public body, and member of at least two other important public bodies viz. the Denbighshire County Council and the Cowlyd Water Board, for the purpose of justifying our remarks upon the curiousness of his conduct in respect to the Cowlyd Water Board, because we think that such conduct on the part of a gentie- man who has had the benent of a training In the conduct of public business such as is implied by his membership of (and position in) these public bodies, is fully entitled to an even stronger epithet than that of curious, by which, for the present, we are content to describe it. For let our readers think for the moment of the possible effect on the performance of public business, if such action as Mr Parry has identified himself with in respect to the Cowlyd Water Board, were the rule and not the exception, in connexion with all public bodies. What if, for instance, an influential member of the Colwyn Bay District Council were to attempt to dissociate himself from all that the Council had done up to a certain date, and take the lead in an outcry against all the other members of the Council, b?sed on all the mistakes which that Council might in its unwisdom have, from time to time, made, and that an outcry which involved veiled innuendoes, which could only lead the less informed ratepayers outside to the conclusion that a section of the Council had been guilty, not merely of mistakes, but of something far more serious ? What if the same kind of thing were attempted in connexion with the Denbighshire County-Council? What if the City Councils of Liverpool or Manchester were subjected to such assaults ? Of course, they are all open to it, for all have -inned (made mistakes) and come short of the glory of absolute perfection In the conduct of public business. We know very well that not for an instant would such action be tolerated by any of the bodies we have named but, supposing for a moment that it were possible, then public work would be abandoned by all self-respecting and capable men, and fall into the hands of persons far less likely to satisfy the requirements of the public weal. For our part, we have no recollection of any instance of such a thing ever having occurred before. We do not, of course, object to any member of any public body criticis- ing the acts of that body if he does not approve of them, and especially if he has never, by vote or speech, sanctioned any of the acts which he condemns. But we should, as we now do, most unhesitatingly condemn the action of a man who, while a member of a public body which during his membership, has made several very palpable blun- ders.—blunders in which he himself has participat- ed.—attempts to stand on one side, and, while doing so,takes up the position of leader in an outcry against certain of his colleagues, which, based on mistakes committed by the whole body of which he has from the beginning been (and stiff is) a member, insinuates malpractices, or at any rate gives outsiders, /.<?., ratepayers, the impression that something far worse than mistakes had been perpetrated. In saying this, we ot course do not for one moment wish to suggest that Mr Thomas Parry is not perfectly sincere and honest in his action. We simply wish to point out to our readers, and to Mr Parry himself especially, the impolicy of his attitude and action in this matter, for the position we have endeavoured to describe is (it appears to us) exactly the position in which Mr Parry now finds himself, and it is a position which, we are fully convinced, did he clearly realise, he would be ashamed of, and at once abandon. That Mr Parry is convinced not only of the right- eousness but of the wisdom of his present and recent action, is. we think, fully proved by his statement to the Colwyn Bay Ratepayers, on the 27th of December, 1895. We cannot congratulate Mr Parry on the lucidtty or coherence of his state- ment, which is marred too by many little sneers and ill-timed jocularities, ill befitting either the subject under discussion or himself. These we do not propose to waste either our own or our readers' time in considering, but will endeavour to get at the pith of what Mr Parry has advanced or attempted to advance in this assault on—we will say the Cowlyd Water Board. In the nrst place, then, we find that Mr Parry states that a Committee was appointed to obtain "Schemes" for supplying the water from the Cowlyd Lake to the Joint District, an Engineer— Mr Newton—being appointed to report on the different Schemes submitted. Mr Parry remarks in passing, that Mr Farrington's Scheme (the Scheme which is now almost completed) was, if his (Mr Parry's) memory served him rightly,— and it did not often fail him,—not presented at the same time as the others, and also came in without a date on it, while all the others were dated.

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