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DISTRICT COUNCILS. I (See also page 7.) MALPAS RURAL. ) RESIGNATION OF THE CHAIRMAN. t AN UNFORTUNATE INCIDENT. At a meeting on Wednesday, under the presi- dency of Mr. E. Langley, a full Council occupied a considerable time in discussing a letter from the ohairman, Mr. S. H. Sandbach, relative to a resolution passed at the last meeting of the Council anent the hire of a steam roller. It will be remembered that the surveyor reported he had, on the instructions of the chairman, engaged a steam roller for a period of fifteen days to roll the roads in the Hamptdn district. The chair- man was absent, but wrote a letter confirming this, and stating that he had acted in conjunction with' Mr. George Lewis. The action was re- sented by the Council, inasmuch as they believed no such urgency existed and that it was outside the power of any individual to act unless powers had been delegated to him. As to the wisdom of employing the roller they were agreed, but the matter should have been brought before them for sanction before the order was given, as the cost, it was estimated, would be £ 50. A resolution which was passed confirming the order also contained the words "whilst not approving of the action of the chairman." These words the chairman viewed as a vote of censure. The following letter was read from Mr. Sandbach:- "Cherry Hill, 22nd April, 1902. Dear Sir,—I beg to thank the District Council for doing me the honour of unanimously electing me again as chairman, but I am sorry they should have thought it necessary to pass a vote of censure on me. I do not deny that technically I acted ultra vires in telling the surveyor to got a steam roller without the sanction of the Council, but the circumstances were exceptional. When I received the two letters about the road I knew there was cause for complaint, as I had been up the road a few days before. And nobody can deny that it is a most unusual thing to lay such a long and thick length of metal at this time of the year unless it is to be rolled. The surveyor told me he could not get the heavy roller we had used on Cross-a-hill. I did not, however, act upon my own responsibility, as I consulted Mr. Lewis, who I knew was opposed to steam rolling, and he agreed with me that the matter was urgent, and that as there was not another meet- ing of the Council for some time I had better tell the surveyor to get a roller. I also saw Mr. Dod, who thoroughly approved, and when I spoke about it to Colonel Barnston and Messrs. Done and Morgan they approved. Un- fortunately I was absent from the Council meet- ing through having to attend the funeral of a relative, and Mr. Lewis was also unable to attend. I have now been chairman of the Council for many years, and would not presume to remain so if I thought I had not the confidence of the members, and even if a small number of them think that I greatly exceeded my duty,' I am not fit for it. In justice, therefore, to myself, I must respectfully decline to be chairman unless the resolution on my conduct is rescinded. Of course, I shall not attend the next meeting of the Council, and the members will be perfectly free to take what action they think fit, so please read this letter.—Yours faithfully, (signed) S. H. SANDBACH." Mr. George Lewis explained his action in the matter. He was opposed to incurring the cost of a steam roller, but the case was an exceptional one and it was apparent that the road would not have set unless a roller had been used. They had, he knew, acted outside their powers, but when the matter was mentioned they were under the impression that they could not get a roller under at least six week's time. They therefore agreed to order a roller, fully anticipating that a meeting of the Council would be held in the interim, when the Council's sanction could be obtained or withheld. They might have called a special meeting, of course, and in fact they ought to have done, as the roller was available very much quicker than they had expected it to be. He was quite prepared to take his full share of the responsibility, but he wished to express his regret that the circumstance had arisen. As both Mr. Sandbach and he were unavoidably absent, he did not think Mr. Hobson should have -made use of such words as were attributed to him in regard to them at the last meeting. He characterised them as a stab in the back. It was unjustifiable attack upon them for doing what they thought was in the best interests of the Board. Mr. Hobson could not. think that because ho ventured to express his opinion in public meeting that it was an unfair attack. He could not sea but a very awkward state of things would result if they were to have their expressions of opinion characterised as "a stab in the back." He thought Mr. Lewis ought to withdraw those words. Mr. Lewis: I shall withdraw nothing that I have said. Mr. Hobson did not intend to take up the humuie position, but he wished to make it clear that his vote was not one of a "vote of censure." He did not wish Mr. Sandbach to infer that at all. He held that -no p all. He held that no right of priority existed. They had ordered the putting on of the stones, and he could not conceive but that they must have known the resulting condition months before. He ventured to say that if the letters of Dr. Jordison and Mr. Farquhar had not been received no steam roller would have been ordered. Mr. Morgan said it was quite true that Mr. Sandbach mentioned the matter to him, but he did not know that he had been consulted in the matter. What he understood from Mr. Sand- bach was that ho had ordered a steam roller to be employed. The road was in a very bad state, as they might have expected it to be. He simply wished to make it clear that so far as he was concerned he did not express an opinion. Personally, he was in favour of rolling the roads throughout the district as the effectual, and in the long run most economical, way of dealing with them. There were two things he wished to see—equality of representation and freedom of speech in their discussions. The matter to which Mr. Sandbach had taken exception was not a personal one at all, and was never intended as such. It was an executive one, and he cer- tainly thought Mr. Sandbach would have been able to distinguish between the two. Colonel Barnston said he had, like Mr. Morgan, been told that a roller had been ordered. What his reply to that may have been he did not quite remember; probably he said it was a very good thing, but he had not been consulted as to the ordering of it. Mr. Dod also said Mr. Sandbach had mentioned to him the fact of his ordering the roller. He went further than what the others appeared to have done, for he told Mr. Sandbach that he quite approved of the action. He deemed the case one of necessity. He believed Mr. Sand- bach's action was in the best interests of the community, and he upheld the action. Mr. Vernon, as secondor of Mr. Done's motion at the last meeting, said he passed over the road before the rolling, and if he had seen it before the last meeting he certainly should not have consented to a steam roller's having been used. Racking had been put on, and the road was settling down into a good road. Replying to the Chairman, the Surveyor said he was prevented from putting racking on before by orders of the Council. Mr. Reeves believed the chairman had done all in the best interests of the Council, and he thought the action of the Council at the last meeting was not right. He begged to move that the resolution be rescinded. The Chairman pointed out that the rolling had been done, but if the preface to the resolu- tion, "whilst not approving of the chairman's action," was what Mr. Reeves meant, he might give notice to move at the next meeting that they be expunged from the minutes. Mr. Reeves agreed, and gave notice. The Surveyor stated that the road contained 2,480 lineal yards, which had been repaired at a cost of B419 18s. 4d, or roughly JE2 per lineal yard. It was decided to give the employes a free holiday on Coronation day. HA WARDEN RURAL. A JO ".1 TT meeting 01 tne Jtiawarcten Kurai District Council was held under tho presidency of Mr. W. Fryer on Thursday. HA WARDEN STATION ROAD. rrn. r-< 1 -1 11 e A ne Cleric react the surveyor s report, which stated that it would cost 214 Is. 3d. to make a tootpath on the road leading to Hawarden Station. A six-inch drain would also be required. The total cost, including other small items, would be about £ 25. As it had not been provided for in this year's estimates, he suggested that the matter be deferred, as it would interfere with other important improvements. The surveyor's report was adopted. HIGHER FERRY LANE. I TlIe Clerk reported, ill reference to the Higher Ferry-lane case, that. the defendants, being a company, could not plead at the Assizes if a true bill was found by the Grand Jury. He had there- fore applied for and obtained a writ certiorari, so that if a true bill was found the case would be heard in London. It was a troublesome and expensive matter, but the Council had no option but to enfore the obligation and undertake the work themselves.—The action of the clerk was agreed to. _n




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