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I Radnorshire's M.O.H.


Radnorshire's M.O.H. I Dr, Harding Secures Temporary Appointment. LIVELY DEBATE. Aid. C. C. Rogers presided at a meeting of the Radnor- shire County Council on Friday, when there were present Mr J. Hamer (vice-chairman), Ald. Sir Powlett Milbank, Bart., Ald. J. W. Stephens, Ald. J. Price, Ald. A. Edwards, Ald. C. Powell, Rev. H. L. Kewley, Major Gibson Watt, Mr W. Green-Price, Mr J. R. Bache, Mr W. M. Baylis, Mr H. W. Duff-Gordon, Mr W. Roberts, Mr E. Williams, Mr T. Davies, Mr B. P. Lewis, Mr J. Hurst, Mr C. Vaughan Weale, Mr S. B. Meredith. Mr J. Evans, Mr R. Hughes, Mr E. Lewis, Mr J. O. Bufton, Mr T. L. Vaughan, Mr T. B. Goodwin, Mr H.- Evan- Nir T. L. Mr H. Vaughan Vaughan (clerk), Mr G. W. Moseley (deputy-clerk), Mr T. L. Wishlade (road sur- veyor), Mr A. Millward (deputy county surveyor), Mr Rd. Jones (deputy chief constable), and Mr C. S. W. Powell (inspector of weights and measures, &c.). In moving the adoption of the Finance Committee's report, Mr J. Hamer asked the council to make an ad- dition to the accounts passed for payment, viz., the sum of ?37 10s to Mr Wellings Thomas (county sur- veyor). This was three-quarters' salary, as he had not been paid anything since September last. A communi- cation had been received from the Local Government Board, stating that it would be in order to pay an offi- cial his salary if he had appointed a substitute to carry on his work. Mr J. O. Bufton thought they should know their exact position first. If Mr Hamer were prepared to pay the full salary to Mr Wellings Thomas, not only as county surveyor, but in respect of his duties under the Edu- cation Committee, he considered that it should he made perfectly clear that they were now receiving the same services as Mr Thomas rendered. If a deputy only re- ceived half the salary, he- was only going to give half- service. He thought they should pay Mr Thomas what he was paying his deputy. Mr Thomas Davies was afraid that the duties—as re- garded schools in the out-lying districts—had not been so faithfully carried out since Mr Thomas left for ac- tive service. Mr B. P. Lewis thought they would fall in with Mr Hamer's suggestion, if they were assured that the full sum was paid to the deputy. Mr Hamer thought that, as Mr Thomas had engaged a deputy, he was entitled to his salary, but he did not know what were the arrangements between him and his deputy. As far as he knew, the deputy had given every attention, required, but it might be that some schools had not been attended to. and it was quite right that these matters should be brought to the notice of the council. They had, however, nothing to do with the surveyor's duties under the Education Committee that morning, and, before the meeting of the Education Com- mittee in the afternoon, he would consult him about these. The county buildings had been kept in an effi- cient state. The chairman said he agreed with the people who had raised this criticism. When changes were made,, they should have some guarantee as to the duties be- ing carried out. Very likely, schools near Llandrindod had received better treatment than some of those out- side, but he would like to point out that it was the duty of school-managers to bring matters, such as re- pairs required, &c., to the notice of the surveyor. Mr B. P. Lewis was sorry that Mr Hamer had given no assurance as to the juties having been carried out satisfactorily. There was, however, no reflection upon Mr Millward, as it was some time after Mr Thomas left that he was appointed, and then at a very small salary—about half, he believed. Mr S. B. Meredith held the same opinion as Mr T. Davies, that the outside schools had not received the same attention as those more central, and, in reply to his question, the chairman said nothing had been stat- ed as to how man) times this official should visit the schools. Mr Bufton said that, if arrangements were made be- tween Mr Thomas and Mr Millward for part of the work only to be done, he objected to the full salary being paid. They had been waiting for Mr Wellings-Thomas to come to the council to explain matters. The council were never asked whether he should go on active ser- vice or not, and they were not told that he intended to appoint a deputy. The salary was paid for some con- siderable time when no one was appointed to xo the work, so he thought they were entitled to .he in- formation which he had asked for—the precise terms of the arrangement between Mr Thomas and his deputy. The chairman put it to the meeting."that an instruct- ion be added to the report that the salary be paid," but this was lost, only four voting for it. Mr Bufton then moved that the salary be paid on the understanding that the whole of the work undertaken I by Mr Wellings-Thomas he carried out by Mr Millward. Mr B. P. Lewis seconded, and this was carried, Mr Hamer observing that this was, practically, what they had asked for in the first instance. I Mr Bache's Proposal. "Number 6" was certainly the item on the agenda in which members seemed to be most keenly interested, and, immediately this stage was reached, Mr J. R. Bache proposed that Ex-Councillor Dr. Richard Harding, New Radnor, be appointed "a temporary part-time medical officer for the county." If there were anyone to whom this appointment was due. said Mr Bache, it was to Dr. Harding, who undertook the duties when the council were in difficulties, and, when he undertook them, no doubt he was not aware of the amount of time they would take, or of the time that the war was likely to last. They were very sorry that there was any necessity to appoint a temporary medical officer, as they had all hoped that the war would have been ended before now. He appreciated the work which Dr. Harding had done, and it had been appreciated by high- er authorities. He believed that a large number of members of that authority had appreciated it also. He had saved the county from difficulties, and he (Mr Bache) thought they should have had a difficulty in obtaining an officer at all, and. even if they did. he thought they should have had to pay a high salary. They were a wonderful people to talk about economy, especially in time of war. Dr. Harding had saved them £ 200 in salary, and had not lost grants. He thought the council should he unanimous in appointing Dr. Harding. (Hear, hear.) He had carried out the duties so as to satisfy the Local Government Board and the Board of Education, and. although there had been some "mud-slinging" at their meeting that day, he thought it would not stick. He quoted from the Board's letter, in which they said they regarded these arrangements as much the best that could be made in the circumstances, and they much regretted their ter- mination. (This referred to the arrangements which had been made for carrying on Dr. Pole's work by Dr. Harding, and to the latter's resignation.) Surely, pro- ceeded Mr Bache. that should carry weight with the council. Some might say that he had no right to talk like this about one who held different opinions to him- self, but he would remind them that to-day there was a political truce. If there had been no such truce, lie was not a manly man who would not put anything aside to appoint a man who had done what Dr. Harding had done for the county. He thought they shonld put everythin" g else aside, and not consider any other ap- plication, even if sent in. Dr. Pole's salary was not stopped till last January, and Dr. Harding did not re- ceive it. He thought it was unfair to say that the ex- penditure. as given, was caused by Dr. Hording. The sum of the £110 was not mentioned. He thought this should be taken into account. It was wonderful how figures could he manipulated to suit some people. He did not wish to labour the question, but, if anything was due to any man in Radnorshire, this was due to Dr. Harding. The terms of the appointment would be-salary, £175. with £i5 for travelling expenses. Mr Bufton pointed out that they were appointing a temporary, not a deputy, medical officer, and had they the right to appoint anyone to act in a dual capacity? The chairman replied that this would be a matter for the Local Government Board.. Mr Bufton asked if it were usual to appoint an om- cer who had only recently resigned his connection with the body which were appointing? The clerk replied that the rule, which stated that members must resign six months before taking office, applied to hoards of guardians, not to county councils. Mr Bufton said they were told by Dr. Harding that it was physically impossible for him to do the work. He did not think they were justified in appointing a gentleman who was unable, physically, to do the work, owing to other duties. He failed to see any reason or justification in asking the council, in face of the statement made by Dr. Harding, to vote for an ap- plicant. who said he was physically incompetent to take on this omce, Mr T. Davies believed they should take this point into consideration. He considered it was one of the most important. He was very sorry to say anything about a man in his absence, but it was to their know- ledge that, when Dr. Harding resigned, it was with the excuse that it was physically impossible for him to carry out the duties. Were they—business men repre- senting the whole of the county—going to appoint a medical man that day who had told them that it was phvsically impossible for him to do the iork? If they did, it would look very had in thj "eyes" of the county. He was under the impression that they should not have had an application from Dr. Harding if they had not had one from Dr. Stead. Dr. Harding said they would never get an application at the sal- arv. How was it, at the eleventh hour, that he thought wise to send in an application? Had his health improved? Had he got so much younger in years? Dr. Harding told them that they should have to pay £ 700 a year. Why should he get their sympathy? He could not for the life of him see why if he were anxious to burden the county with f300 or R400 a year more than the sum advertised. There voted for Dr. Harding, 19; and for Dr. Stead, 5: and the chairman said: I declare the proposition for Dr. Harding carried. (Applause.^

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