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LLANGOLLEN. MR RICHARDS. CLERK TO THE LOCAL BOARD, AND THE BOARD. DISMISSAL OF THE CLERK BY RESOLUTIOIT. This curious matter having taken a tangible form has attracted considerable public interest. The issue simply is, can a public servant be dismissed without any just cause whatever. The origin of the dispute arose in this way :—Mr Dickin, of Tyndwr, Llangollen, summoned the Local Board for not repairing a road called the Gwernant-road." It was admitted on all hands that the road was out of repair, and Mr Charles Richards, their clerk, advised the board not to defend the action, but to admit their guilt and cry for mercy. The board, nevertheless, employed a solicitor; but the defence was shown by Mr Marcos Louis, who acted for Mr Dickin, to be founded on purely technical grounds, and did not at all go the very root of the matter, whether or no the road was or was not in repair. The board were finally con- victed in a nominal penalty and costs. There is no doubt whatever of the fact that the clerk's advice from the beginning was (if the road was out of repair, which the board admitted) that they should cave ia. For the part thus taken by him, Mr Richards has been subjected to severe oppression. A trenchant local pen has put the case in the following plain and ready way to uuderstand it When the curtains of the first part of the dis- agreeable drama dropped, Mr Dickin came off signally victorious, and the board doubtless felt that they were beaten all along the line both in strategy and in fair fighting. The prickly quicksets which the board intended to weave into a scourge for Mr Diekin's back, as a correction for its alleged selfishness, was adroitly removed by him and in doe time fashioned into a [ f red wlltd No& the bm* oqmwk4 fts I hàirmlD. srea-t under its meicilesi lashes. Then came the disagreeable work of paying die penalties of defeat, and as the hoard had to pay for their fanciful game from the public purse of the already over-taxed ratepayers", they had, of course, to make a pausible case, and to find a scrapegoat to carry away their own laches. In other words, while with one hand they wrote a cheque to pay the cost of their injudicious lawsuit from the public purse, with the other they kept throwing clouds of dust into the eyes of the ever patient public, in order to create the impre sion that, the clerk was unable to advise them impartially. Hence Mr Richard3 must be dismissed. H^ is Mr Dickin's agent, and he is also clerk to the b'«ard. Tne interests of the two parries are ftonfl.ocing interests. Having failod to crush the Squire, they must cashier the agent. This appears to me to be a fair statement of the whole matter; arid I am in a position to state that this opinion is tolerably wide-spread." At the August meeting of the board, when thare were present Mr Gregson Fell (chairman), Major Tottenham, Messrs Edward Humphreys Roberts, Edward Roberts, Thomas Hughes, and Swnuel Hughes, the Chairman said he had sent to the clerk the following letter:— Walton House, 21ith June. Dear sir,—At a private meeting of the members held this (lav-eight present- it was unanimously decided that tho chairman would at the next board give notice of the following motion That inasmuch as Mr Richards is professionally employed by so many conflicting interests, and thereby unable im- partially to advise this, board, it is inexpedient that he should continue to act as clerk.' I, therefo:-e, feel it right that I should thus early intimate to voa the course which it is intended to take.—Yours faithfully, GREGSOV FELL. Charles Richards, Esq., Llangollen." He (the chairman) had hoped Mr Richards would have resigned. He paused for him to do so now. As he did not, he pro- posed the motion as above, which was seconded by Mr Thoma3 Hughes.—Major Tottenham objected to it altoge her. He bore the highest testimony to Mr Richards' impartiality as clerk to the magistrates. He deprecated a matter of this scrt being resolved upon at a private meeting. It ought to imva been brought before a regular meeting of the board. Twenty-four hours' notice bad only been given him of the private meeting, and he did not thick it right that it should be brought on like thal.-The Chairman sail that the answer to this was that several members had recommended urgency before next board, and that was the reason why the notice was not longer.-TI)e Clerk charged the chairman with an attempt to give currency ro the ha r,<d enter- tained towards him by trying to father such a resolution as this on the board. He hedged to tell them that their chairman had slandered him in his capacity as clerk of the magistrates in the presence of witn,sses.-The Chairman energetically denied this.—Mr R. 8. Richards, assistant clerk, energetically corroborated his father's statement, and supported him. However, the other members voted for the resoluti )a, Major Tottenham protesting against it.—The Chaitmau said that it would be necessary to instruct a committee to report upon the duties and emouments of a clerk at the next board. At the usual monthly meeting on Thursday, the 6ih instant, there were present—Mr Gregson-Felly, chair- man Major Tottenham, Messrs John C. Best, E. H. Roberts, Edwa:d Roberts, William Jones, Thomas Hughes, Samuel Hughes.—The assistant clerk re ld the minutes of the ordinary proceedings of the last meeting, and then commenced to read the chairman's motion with regard to the clerk, alledging it to be inexpedient that Mr-Charles Richards should nold the office, when the chairman, interrupting, said Stop a minute, I sent a letter to your father, which I don't see down on the minntes. I read that letter here.—The Assistant Clerk: Your motion, as read, is down on the iiiinufes. —The Chairman Yes; but there is the letter written by myself, intimating te the clerk the resolution of those eight gentlemen, that I should bring forward that motion. Here it is; and if it is entered with the other letters that I have here, the matter will be properly set forth. The object of our minutes is that they should be a record of what took place.—The Assistant Clerk This is simply the resolution moved by you, 011 the notice of motion.—The Chairman But this relates to the matter. It is a letter that was read to the board and 1 think it ought to be inserted on the m-'nutes.—Major Tottenham As far as I am cuacerned, I beg to say 1 was not present at the private meeting when resolved upon that course and, therefore, I am perfecrly in the dark on the subject.—Mr J. C. Bppt vVere not. you present at th board meeting last mo th ? —Mnjor Tottenham Ye3, I was present; but nothing of the facts upon which action was taken at the private meeting came forward.—The Chairman But I read mee, that letter, and that is the reason why I mentioned it now in order that that letter should be entered on them, I don't know what you gentlemen say. B It I will read the letter again. Now, I think that letter is very important; and I think that i" should appear on our minutes, and so complete our proceedings in the matter ah initio.—Mr J. C. Best: For my own part, I think it ought to appear. It was a letter which was read to the board.—-The Chairmaa Yes and it refers to our meeting of the 8th oi June, 1877, that being a private meeting. I will give you a copy of it.-The Assistant Clerk I have got a copy of it. In fact I have got the original.—The Chairman Very well, now it he entered on the minutes let of the lait meeting.— The Assis'atit Cler;, There is no room so I had better put it now as an addenda to the minutes ?-The Chair- man Yes, well do, if you will state that Mr Fell tead that letter; and then the motion came. That is the position where it, should be placed.—Mr Wm. Jones In fact, it should be before everything in the matter.—The Chairman: It should save come ia the first instance.—Mr J. C. Best The date of it will prove that.—The Chair- man Of course, the date of it will prove that.—The Assistant Clerk Shall I insert tint the entry of it here was proved by you ?-The Chairman It is not necesaai v. It is a minute of what took place. I'm sorry I have had rather a bad cold, and cannot speak much. Now, there is a letter also from Captain Best, that I read, and that too should be entered on the minutes (letter handed down the table).—Mr Richards, the clerk, to Mr Best: Is that your signature ?—Mr Best: Yes, that is my signature.-The Chair- man asked for the Local Government Act (book handed to him).—The Assistant Clerk having transcribed the letteis in the minute book read the same over, and continued reading the last item on the minutes, viz.: The following cheques were ordered to be drawn."—The Chairman Yes, that is all quite right but there was a motion a proposed by myself -I forget who seconded it—requiring the clerk to cease his connection with this board in six months from that date.—Major Tottenham (wish astonishment): When was that moved ?-The Chairman After you had gone. It didn't occur to me to move it until after you had gone. —Major Tottenham (indigrantly) But I was here until after the board had broken up I-The Chairinan No, you were not, Major; excuse me.—Major Totten- ham Well, certaioly, you told us there was no more work for that meeting.—The Chairman But we signed all those cheques after it. It was an omission not to have called you back, and my fault at the time; but l thought it was quite immaterial.—Major Tottenham Well, I must object to its being put down as a part of that board's business. I never heard anything of it, and I stopped here until you told us all the work was done.—The Clerk: The hoard was actually dismissed before anything was said about it.— Mr Best: Well, if there is any difficulty about it, let us do it now over again let us have it all in order .'—Major Tottenham It certainly would not be in order the other way. Even before I had gone the leporters had left under the im- pression that the business was all done.—Mr Best: How- evw, the cheques were signed b.v three members.—The Chairman And if there are three members to sign the cheques there is a board.—M jor Tottenham There is no doubt whatever the board was dismissed.—The Chairman: I simplv said there was no other business.— Mr Best: If Mr Richards advises us that it was not right, we shall do it now, to be in order.—The Chair- man (to Mr Richards): Do you advise us that it was irregular ?-Mr Richards: Ye, most certainly; and it is irregular now.—Mr Best: On wh,t ground?—The Clerk: Because it is irregular.—Mr Best: Cannot you advise us on what ground it is irregular ?—The Clerk No further than that I say it is irregular and illegil.- The Chairman: I shall just read the section of the Act; but I am not prepared to accept his ruling as regards the last meeting. [Section of Local Government Act read, as to the appointment of officers by a local board], and the Chairman continued Therefore, after that resolu- tion on the minutes you simply hold your office at the pleasure of the board, and you cease your connection with it at whatever time the board may fix. whether it be one month or six months after; but whatever time is decided upon, you are -absolutely now in office only at the pleasure of the board.—Mr Richards: The resolution already passed is simply a nullity. It is merely a difference of opinion between you and the board who appointed me. It has nothing to do with me holding my office-nothing whatever.—Mr Best: What do you mean? -Mr Richards: I mean what I have sid-Mr Best: That it is only a difference of opinion between this board and the board that elected yon. Well. what then ?—Mr Richards There was no objection then to my being clerk to the magistrates.—Mr Best: That has nothing tojdo with its being now inexpedient that you should continue to be clerk to this board, if the board now think it is.—Mr William Jones: I think that the board does so now, and I think it is quite nonsense for him (Mr Richards) to come. here and for him to dictate everything to us to do—.—Mr Richards: I think if Mr Jones has any complaint to make he ought to say what he has to complain of. and not to say anything of this sort.—Mr Jones: Well, I make a complaint nw that you are raising objections to everything.—Mr Richards: But my objections are in nothing wrong.— Mr Jones I think it is wroug for you to be against the members of this board. They are responsible for their duties, and not you and when they come for your ad- vice they get wrong. We called you here in that case of the Gwernant road, and the case was entirely in your hands, and not in ours.—Mr Best: Let us go on with the business.-The Chairman: Well, at the last board there was a motion made by myself that your connection with this board should ter- minate in six months from that date. That was proposed and seconded, and carried and I say that it ought to be on the minuW,M tjor Tottenham And I object to its being on the minutes, for I left after the board had beea dissolved for tbat day.—Tto Qtoairaaaa Bat tboec cheques were signed. Do you object to those cheques now ?—Major Tottenham Yes, if ::IY approval of them would lead to an apparent sanction of the other proceed- ing, I do object, because I think it was very informal; and I say that it should not have been done.—The Chairman It was an accident.—Major Tottenham I think I did not say that it was done intentionally.—Mr Best, As it was done after some members had left the board-room, let it be proposed now. (To the chairman): Propose that his connection cease in five months' time. That will meet the case.—Tho Chairman To be in order, as required when any case of an unusual kind occurs, I shall ask you, gentlemen, to vote it ursreat." Those that are of that opinion will b) good enough h hold up their hands.—Major Tottenham: Before thi.s thing is fhus brought on, I should like to know what took place at that private meeting?—The Coairrcua: You must see, major, that it is scarcely a proper thing on your part to-ask me that, and you must excuse me for developing to you what took place privately, anil of which you had an oppor unify of making yourself acquainted with by attending.—M.ijjr Tottenham: I say I had not an opportunity. It d y*s nor follow that because you are a member of the Local Board you are bound to live not further than two miles from Llangollen dl the days of your life. A person might be in Ireland or in London, and ought to have the usual length of time for notice of such a meeting, which I did not, and I object to it on the ground that sufficient notice was not given.—The Chairmain: Don't you think the fae:, of eight members being present shows that there was sufficient notice g:Lven ?-Iii!j(,r Tottenham: They may have had ufficIent notice but I should like to know what took place at that meeting. To this hour, I have never had any information of what was done. I repeat, that, from that day to this one, I never received one word of in- formal ion of what was really done.—Mr Best: Didn't, you vote on the matter at the last meeting?—Major Tottenham No, I objected to it altogether, b. cause I did not know anything about it.—Mr W. Jones (to the chairman) Is there any objectiou at all to having the notice to the clerk restricted to two or three months, or if one is enough, to do it now ?-The Chairman I think the first thing would be to vote the matter urgent, so that there shad be nothing wrong in this proceeding. I have no hesitation in saying that under the circumstances it is one of urgent necessity and I want you to vote that it is urgent.—Mr W. Jones thought they would never tret on well with things as they were.—Captain Best: Then tl e way is to vote urgency."—The Chair- man then asked for a show of hands on the s-ane.—Major Tottenham said. before the motion put, he claimed as a member of the board to be informed of the pro- ceeding" at the meeting. He had been kept utierlv in the daik on the subject, and how could they expect him to vote upon a matter of which he knew nothing.—Mr Best referred, to the notice setting forth that it was in consequence of Mr Richards having conflicting interests to serve.—Major Tottenham Conflicting interest! Everybody has conflicting interests; an.1 we never can get anyone for £ 30 or £ 35 salary, but who has got some interests or other which may be conflicting with this board.—The Chairman repealed that he did not think Major Tottenham could a=k him as chairman of that meeting to toll him what took place at the private meeting. He must apply to people who professed to penetrate such matters.—Major Tottenham claimed his right to have the information from the chairmm of the board.—The Chairman said he had the sum.1 notice as other members had. It appeared after looking up that the chairman's letter was posted on the 25.h to Plas Berwyn, and sent from there to London on the 26th, Major Tottenham receiving it on the 27th, so that he had not more than forty-eight hours' notice.—The Chairman said three clear days' notice was required according to the Act, but that was, of course, for a pub- lic meeting. This was a private meeting, and had Major Tottenham been there he would have heard the whole matter; so be certainly must decline acceding to his requ°;t, when he bad an opportunity of being present. -jor Tottenham su'd he had not had an opportunity. —Mr Richards added they also had no right to leave a public servant in the dark that way.—The Chairman In leaving you in the dirk ?-Ilr Richards: Yes.— Major Tottenhan renewed his first objection, and also objected to the subject lu.viug been dmcussed at a private meeting.—The Chairman ruled that that, business was a settled one, and again asked those who would vote the question urgent" to be good enough to hold up their hands (which they )r Tottenham protesting against the proceeding, and Mr Richards notifying th-it there had been no notice given of the motion by anybody, and, therefore, that the chair- man had no right to take it.—The Chairman declined to hear Mr Richards anymore on the subject. This matter had been considered on the last occasion, but as fhe motion had been somewhat, irregular then, ho now begged to movs that the connexion of Mr Richards with the board should cease on the oist of January.—Mi- Best seconded the inolio-,i.-I,,l lior Tottenham proposed as an amendment, that the time be e'ghtmonins.hi-i reason for so doing beincr that, the new board wculd then have been elected, and tho ratepayers in th3 meantime would have an opportunity of expressing an opinion on the matter.-Thls was not seconded, and the chairman took a show of hands upon his mrtlon, r. questing the names to be taken down on the minutes, also two letter-' from members of the b j.i ;d absent froiul ast meeting- who were at the private meeting and would have supported his resolution, viz., Mo.srs William Jonss, and Themis Nicholas; also, a letter and enclosure from the former chairman of the board who g.:Vt3 an unqualified denial to the statement that he had once apologised to the clerk, which denial it appeared the editor of the locii paper had declined to insert. The question of urgency was again voted, and a resolution takea c. That, the Churmen of the several committees be appointed to form a committee to report to the next board in respect of the duties and salary of the clerk with any tecomin-ndation thereon," Major Tottenham, m each instance, objecting to the proceedings.—Some further unimportant ma ters were then dealt with by the board before breaking up.