Thursday, 6 December 2007

If you want something done give it to a busy man

Last Monday, councillor Brian Prior surprised us all resigning, elegantly, form the post of vice-chairman of the parish council, exactly a month since his election (the previous meeting). To my opinion it is a shame as he was doing the right noises and seems like the right person for the job.

It takes a very strong personality to fight the current and keep one’s gowned. We all have experienced it. When joining a new organization (work, family, or politics), we assimilate to a certain degree the way things are done, even if we do not like it. Thus, to an extent, a person will become more efficient when dropped into a company where efficiency is truly valued and practiced. Alas it also works the other way.

I have a lot of respect for the people who volunteered to the Wendover Parish Council. However, I feel they could improve their internal and external information sharing. This is an issue that used to drive me mad at certain places I worked at. An important aspect of team work is realizing that not every body knows what you have gleaned or done. I am sure that at his work place, councillor Prior would not have allowed himself to do the mistake he did in the parish meeting of going with the flow, not thinking things thoroughly though, and believing it will all be alright.

Take last month’s meeting. The councillors did not really come prepared for dealing with Dr. King’s resignation. I am sure they knew about it. But they did not communicate with each other sufficiently to realise there were decisions to be made and probably some homework. Thus, councillor Prior was “ambushed”, proposed and elected as a vice-chairman. He accepted the honour without knowing what it entails and what work load it demands. That means that there were also some councillors that voted him in not knowing what they were voting for (4 of the councillors were co-opted in not that long ago). With hind sight, a memo should have gone out reminding every body what this position involves. I had the same cold feeling watching counsellor Ballantine present the planning applications she, and the rest of the council, lost focus. By the way, to the best of my memory, she was the one who surprised councillor Prior with the nomination.

I find it very sad that the way things are done by the Parish Council is stacked up against people who are still in employment or have a young family. Out of the 11 councillors only 5 hold day jobs of which, I believe, only 3 are full time engagements. I wonder if the job of the vice-chair could be shared. How did Dr. King, who has a very demanding day job, do it?

I hope councillor Prior’s will not totally give up, and keep towing his way. At one of the first meetings he attended, he quietly suggested that they should think not only of what to do (the letter of the law) but also how to do it (the interpretation and ethos). I hope his voice gets stronger in time.

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