What is happening to the Town Forum?
As only a part-time resident of Bexhill I have been attending the forums for quite a few years and enjoyed them. Some were a bit boring but most were excellent.
However, I attended recently a forum AGM and discussion of a proposed new constitution.
Not only was this meeting unpleasantly confrontational, but the chairman appeared to be totally out of his depth when faced with any challenge from the floor, and there were many, mostly from long standing supporters of and contributors to the forum.
This meeting was poorly handled.
Puzzled, I turned to the forum website and discovered an overwhelming display of hubris, unfounded criticism from the committee and a degree of rudeness towards the volunteers who had run the forum for many years.
All the comments on the forum website seemed to come from people who know little of the forum or its history.
For instance, in a statement on this website the committee claim that attendance figures have gone up claiming 200 attendees at four meetings, I make that 50 at each.
Not very good considering that at the meeting before they took more than 240 people attended the parking meeting and many other meetings attracted 100 or more.
Also their ways of calculating figures for this website are somewhat strange, from 250 ‘hits’ they extrapolate 1,000 residents have seen the site.
How come none of those were at the meeting then?
At this meeting only 30 people turned up and 24 of them voted against the chairman.
The committee also seem to be unaware that their attempts at working out percentages of the population who might be interested in the forum are based on figures which include children and babes in arms – that’s around 43,000.
But no, at least 20 per cent of those residents, having children wouldn’t count, so their calculations overall are useless.
Altogether this committee, some of them very new to this town, have barged in, trampling all over the work that former members have done.
They have decided, without consulting members that the ‘guide’ is defunct, that there are no members of the forum, no paper information, only ‘electronic format’, and no three-minute speeches from members though this is breaking the Terms of Reference.
The internet statement also declares the forum has no power and so no votes.
Strange that, since opposition councillors have little power but still vote.
The statement states too that the committee are struggling to understand the agenda of the opposition at the meeting.
Maybe that is the problem. They cannot sweep away 20 years of an organisation without first understanding its history and raison d’ètre.
There is nothing wrong in going forward but there are better ways than destroying what has gone before.
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