A meeting of the Parish Council was held in the Town Hall yesterday (Thursday) evening, with a sizeable audience of Audlem residents in attendance, to let us all know where we are and what the future holds.
Editor – what follows is your editor's best understanding of the meeting – the overall impression was that we knew it was a very messy situation, and the meeting confirmed this, but it also showed the determination of the Councillors present to sort out the mess, and this intention was applauded by the sizeable audience.
The meeting was chaired by Derek Winskill, the other Councillors in attendance being Ralph Warburton, Paul Cawood and John Bower.
Apologies were received from the only other current Councillor, James McGregor (Chair of the Parish Council).
Also present were Jackie Weaver from CHALC and Geoff Seddon who was taking minutes.
Derek explained that the members of the Parish Council present were suffering from the same lack of real information as everyone else, but that positive confirmation has now been received that James McGregor has tendered notice of his resignation as Chair, effective May 22nd.
Various questions were put by members of the audience, to which Derek and the others gave the best answers they could in the circumstances.
All that Councillors could say was that the "irregularities" had been properly investigated and that although some "odd" transactions had apparently taken place, there was no resulting financial loss to the Parish Council.
Jackie Weaver reported that although a suitable candidate was apparently found in February, it fell through at the last hurdle because of procedural issues and lack of meetings.
She will continue to help search for the Parish Clerk that Audlem so badly needs.
It was reported that the Parish Council meeting in February had been cancelled at the last minute by the Chairman and that no further meetings had taken place since until today.
The meeting was disturbed to learn that a situation had been reached, apparently because of the rapid turnover of personnel, whereby only a single signature (the Chairman's) was required to authorise financial transactions. This situation takes a long tome to remedy, partly because of the banks' own internal processes. Until the responsibility is handed over properly by the retiring Chair, there is the potential for unauthorised transactions to take place, so this risk will persist at least until May 22nd.
When the proper authorisation procedures can take place, the signatories for transactions will be Derek, Ralph and Paul.
The PC is in a position to appoint up to five co-opted Councillors and Ralph was able to tell us that there are at least a dozen or more people who have expressed an interest in joining.
Immediately following May 22nd, individuals will be approached with a view to the formal co-option process.
Councillors hoped that they will be able to arrange the Annual Meeting in May.
Ralph reported that three applications have been received to step into Gavin's shoes.
Meanwhile will everybody please pick up their own litter.