Investigation into town council’s actions

Market Rasen Town Council will have to discuss in public why it did not co-opt eligible candidates after a successful appeal by the Rasen Mail.

The local authority has been criticised by residents, West Lindsey District Council Leader Burt Keimach and Edward Leigh MP for refusing to co-opt Carol Skye or Nigel Cook and then giving no reason as to why neither were suitable to fill the council vacancy.

The town council opted to hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss the furore last Wednesday, January 23, but without the press and the public present.

But following a challenge to the exclusion of the press and public, made at the meeting by the Market Rasen Mail, the town council has accepted a full investigation into its co-option process and the way it handles complaints must be carried out and the matter discussed in public.

Mayor Steve Bunney said: “Following the last meeting complaints have been received.

“These complaints do need to be looked into and investigated. I would ask the clerk to carry out an investigation and forward her findings to the people who have complained.”

Coun Bunney said the council needed to look at the decision made not to co-opt at the last full council meeting earlier this month and consider whether to change that decision and the best way to successfully fill the vacancy, which came about following the resignation of Jane Ladley last year.

Market Rasen town clerk Faye Lambkin-Smith told councillors that after seeking advice from the Lincolnshire Association of Local Councils (LALC) the local authority would have to have a “very strong reason not to co-opt if candidates meet the criteria to stand.”

Coun Bunny added: “We also have to give an explanation and it needs to be done in public.”

Nigel Cook said that if the council was going to discuss the co-option process and the reasons behind the rejection of both candidates, Carol Skye should also be present.

Last week’s meeting was therefore suspended and the item will be discussed at the next full meeting of the council on Wednesday February 6, when Mr Cook and Ms Skye will be invited to attend.