In response to Julie Rossall’s comments in her letter last week: I did not ‘grab the microphone’.
I asked for it and the microphone was passed to me by a committee member. Nor did I ‘hurl accusations and abuse’ at the chairman.
What I attempted to explain – before I was stopped by the chairman – was my reason for raising a point of order.
I also considered that it was preferable for me to speak before the meeting got under way.
Six days before the forum I had sent an email to the chairman suggesting that an extraordinary general meeting be held at which we could discuss some of the changes that had been introduced.
I said that it may be better to consider these issues at an EGM which would provide an opportunity to ‘clear the air with discussions on how the Forum should go forward’.
Having received no response to my email I approached the chairman before the meeting and expressed my regret that he had not replied.
He said that he had been away and added that a reply (which at that point I had not seen) had been sent that day.
I asked if he would agree to an EGM and his response was a loud ‘No’.
The chairman and vice chairman said that my email sent six days earlier had only reached them that afternoon.
I advised the chairman that I would be raising a point of order that included a request that an EGM be held as a consequence of that point of order.
He was made well aware of my wish to speak before the start of formal proceedings and, as a further courtesy, I gave him a copy of what I proposed to say.
When the meeting started, on the assumption that I would be called to speak before the presentations began, I raised my hand but the chairman ignored me and introduced the first speaker.
When the speaker had finished his presentation and questions were over I again attempted to put forward my brief request for an EGM only for the chairman to refuse to allow me to submit my point of order.
I believe it should be possible to reach a compromise agreement on how the forum should be run.
But this, like any other town forum, must give residents the right to raise issues at the meetings about what is happening or proposed for their town. If we lose that right it will be a profound loss of the limited local democracy that the forum has provided over the years.
Cowdray Park Road
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