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ICOLWYN BAY DISTRICT COUNCIL.

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COLWYN BAY DISTRICT COUNCIL. BOTH the manner and the matter of the pro- ceedings at last week's monthly meeting of the Colwyn Bay and Colwyn District Council are subjects demanding the close and immediate attention of the ratepayers of the District compri- sed within the sphere of the Council's control. We have on more than one occasion previously called public attention to the utter lack of system and order in the proceedings of this body, which controls one of the most important Local Govern- ment Districts in North Wales, with a rateable value of close on (if not more than) ^40,000. System and order in the conduct of public busi- ness are not matters of mere assthetic sentiment, —they are absolutely vital to the prosperity and well-being of every individual coming within the purview and scope of the administration of a local governing body. It is therefore of the utmost consequence that the very best men in such Districts should be entrusted and honoured with the charge of public business, and the wider the experience, the more cosmopolitan the culture, and the broader the views of such men, the better for all concerned, including themselves. It is not to be expected, of course, that in every locality men whose knowledge of the world and general culture (using that word in no mere academic sense) is at least equal to their native common- sense, will be found thick as the leaves in Val- lombrosa," still, surely, one or two such may be found even in the most benighted spot. A few such ought certainly to be forthcoming from the population with which Colwyn Bay and District is teeming. But for all such cases where men pos- sessing commonsense, but with little experience or knowledge of the conduct of the public business are to be found, and are elected by their fellows to transact that business, there is always a "guide, philosopher, and friend at hand and available to guide their feet into the proper course whenever native shrewdness for the moment fails, namely the STANDING ORDERS. Wise men invariably and almost instinctively adhere to, obey, and enforce these Orders. They do it both for their own sakes, and for tne sake of those whom they re- present. Men who don't make any particular claim to be considered wise in the widest sense of that word, but who are endowed with ordinary commonsense and an honest desire to get their work done in an efficient and expeditious manner, gladly avail themselves of the assistance in this direction afforded by the STANDING ORDERS. There is, however, a class of men who somehow o*- other manage to secure seats on local govern- ing bodies, to whom STANDING ORDERS and the wholesome restraints they oppose to slovenly work and exuberant verbosity, are anathema maranaiha, or at any rate things to be ignored or overridden and trampled upon, and, ever since we have known the local governing body of Col- wyn Bay and District, -w heth er under the title of Sanitary Committee, Local Board, or Urban District Council, it seems to have been cursed by the presence among its members of men of this class As we have said. there is a school of public men who, without pretending to the pos- session of any extraordinary degree of knowledge or wisdom, or even commonsense, have yet suffi- cient of the latter commodity to exact, enforce, and yield an implicit obedience to the STANDING ORDERS, and by this means are every month, nay every week and every day, carrying on the public business entrusted to them in a manner with which no fault can be found. But Colwyn Bay is now, as ever, cursed (we cannot use a milder term) with a number of members on its governing body who are not of this school "Nor any school But that where blind and naked ignorance Delivers brawling judgments, unashamed. On all things, all day long; and of this fact the manner of procedure at last week's Council meeting gave ample proof. Let us spend a little time in demonstrating this. One of the most valuable and righteous STANDING ORDERS is to the effect that "no member shall speak more than once on the same subject, except the mover of a resolution, without the permission of the Chairman and the consent of the Board." How was this STANDING ORDER observed at the last meeting of the Colwyn Bay District Council ? We quote from the description of the proceedings which appeared a couple of days afterwards in the Liverpool Courier:—"The reporters amused themselves with counting the number of times one particular member addressed the Council, and found that from 10.0 a.m., to 1-2.45 noon, he had on no fewer than 120 different occasions expressed his opinions and views upon various matters." We do not hesitate for a moment to express the opinion that to allow one member to speak 120 times in a period of a little over 200 minutes points not only to a wholesale breach of the STANDING ORDER we have referred to on the part of the member himself, but to a palpable neglect of public duty on the part of the Chairman of the Council, in allowing it. We are, to use a phrase eternally on the lips of some members of the Council, speaking in the interests of the rate- payers in making these remarks, and we repeat that it argues on the part of the Chairman of the Council either incapacity to rule the Council, which it is his business and his duty to do, or a most culpable neglect of that duty. To use another phrase very frequently used by some members of the Council, it is time to speak out plainly, and let the ratepayers know what is going on at the Council." Once again quoting the contemporary named, we find that the minutes of the last Council meeting occupied a full hour in discussion, and practically all the business done at that meeting was gone into again." Here is another deplorable and most culpable waste of time, and disgraceful mismanagement. One would suppose that the most elementary notions of getting on with their work, would save the Council from doing it twice over. "The last meeting of the Council referred-to in the above quotation, was presumably called to do a certain amount of work. Either that work was done at the time that meeting was held, or it was not done. If it was done, why on earth did the Council meddle with it again ? If it was done, then the Council stands convicted of inexcuseable omission. Of course, this is nothing new. As our contemporary's description very truly re- marks, this is the usual course." But we need not go to our contemporary for illustrations of the miserable ineptitude and slovenliness of our District Council, for our own fuller report abounds with similar illustrations. For the orderly con- duct of public business, an Agenda is drawn out, on which is set forth the matters to come before the Council, and the order in which they shall be dealt-with. Still another very wise STANDING ORDER is to the effect that no business not on the Agenda can be dealt with except under cer- tain special and well-defined conditions. But in our report we find proofs of a wholesale ignoring of these two most beneficial aids to the transaction of public business. In one instance, the Council is stated to have begun with the second of a series of items, turned back to the first, and finished up with the third. Persons with an ele- mentary idea of the value of order and sequence in the conduct of public business, would describe this as child's play some would call it by a severer name and not be wrong. Yet again. When the discussion of an item dealing with the Cowlyd Water Board, was in progress, Mr Blud asked for (and obtained) the permission of the Chairman to move a resolution of which he had given notice, but which was placed as number 9 on the Agenda, whereas at the moment t he item under discussion was one included under number 3. True, both subjects were cognate; nevertheless, the order of procedure was none the less out- raged, and that without any reason. In this con- nexion, we have only space to just refer to another phase of the manners of some mem- bers of the Board, and we do so for two reasons, —first, because the instance we intend to refer-to, is distinctly a matter of public interest and be- cause it supplies us with a text for some further observations which, made "in the interests of the ratepayers" :(we are not writing satirically, though we quote the phrase), we hope will be duly noted and remembered by those ratepayers. The incident is this. It appears that the minutes of the Highway Committee contained the follow- ing among other items :—" Land Clauses Act.-It