I Rhondda District Council. Councillor, L. P. Griffiths' Lament. Betrayal by Colleagues. Strong Protest by Members. The monthly meeting of the Rhondda ■Kstnet Council was held at the Council Chamber, Pentre, on Friday. The atten- dance included Councillors Ed. Jones (chairman), Thos, Thomas (vice-chairman), Danl. Evans, Thos. George, Ben Davies, David Smith, Tom Evans, Lewis Hopkins, "W". D. Wight, H. E. Maltby, David Wil- liams, W. T. Diavieis, Thos. Griffiths, W. T. Jones, Tom Harries, J. D. Williams, Ð. C. Evans, Walter Williams, W. P. Thomas, R. S. Griffiths, L. P. Griffiths, Griffith EVans, William Thomas, Dr. W. E. Thomas, D. R. Jones, W. H. Morgan, Dr. A. G. Tribe, L. W. Llewelyn, together with the Deputy Clerk (Mr. T. G. Jones) and the Medical Officer, of Health .Dr. J. D. Jenkins). THE OFFICES QUESTION. Two letters were read from the Pentre and Penygraig Chamber of Trades, pro- "testing against any proposed removal of the Council's offices from Pentre, on the ground that the erection of new offices "would entail an expenditure upon the rates of the district which would be as Unnecessary as it would be heavy. On the motion of Councillor Tom Evans, it was resolved to let the letters lie on the table until the matter came up for consideration from the Committee considering the question. EARLY CLOSING AND DELIVERY OF LETTERS. A letter was received from Mr. Flack, -13OStniaster, Pontypridd, asking, whether the Council would be prepared to forego the delivery of letters on Thursday after- noons, as most of the businessi premises Were closed. Councillor Tom Evans: There are People living in the Ilhondda Valley tradesmen. The great majority of the inhabitants are not bmsiness people. Councillor Evans moved that they should not give up this delivery, and the was adopted. SIGHT OF WAY QUESTION AT WATTSTOWN. A letter was received from Mr. Lewis Rees,, Wattstown, calling attention to the action of the vicar of the parish in erect- ing a railings round his church, thereby closing a pathway which had been used »y the inhabitants of Wattstown for the by the inhabitants of Wattstown for the past twenty-five years. When the rev. gentleman's intention became known, pro- ceeded the letter, a public meeting was called, and a deputation was appointed 'to wait upon the vicar. When approached, the latter said that he could do nothing, as he was forced by the terms of his lease to 'close the ground. Further j-ppeals to the estate owners proving fruitless, the inhabitants now sought the Assistance of the Council in retaining the \186 of the pathway. Mr. Rees, in con- clusion, pointed out that the rev. gentle- man's action had created considerable resentment in the district, and unless Speedy action was taken, scenes more stormy than prudent would ensue. Councillor David Smith said that the inatter was one of urgency, and if deferred to the Roads Committee, the mailings would have been put up before that Committee would meet. On the motion of Dr. Thomas, it was -absolved to leave the matter in the hands of the Chairman of the Roads Committee and the Ward members, together with the Clerk, to deal with, and that they lie given power to take any action they deemed necessary. RHONDDA AS A HEALTH RESORT. The Health Committee called attention *?, ^he favourable health position of the ftondda, the total percentage of deaths rom causes during the month of January being only 15.2. being the lowest zi ate of 80 large towns in Eiigland and Wales, with the sole exception of X 5 a death-rate of 14.2. Councillor Tom Evans: Would it not tot. efjta^6 ^or *>s to advertise the itnondda as a health resort? (Laughter). APPOINTMENT OF HEALTH VISITORS. MEMBERS BETRAYED BY THEIR COLLEAGUES. Before proceeding to the appointment of two lady Health Visitors, Councillor L. P. Griffiths said that he had been everely criticised because two members present at the last meeting of the Health *Committee had declared that he had opposed all along the inclusion of local candidates in the short list, and great capital had been made of it. He desired to say that he had voted for everyone of the local candidates proposed, with the -,exception of one--the late matron of the Porth Cottage Hospital—whom he could not regard as a desirable candidate; firstly, because of her age, and secondly, ^because the only experience she possessed was that of a hospital matron. She had no sanitary experience whatever, or hygiene, iand therefore he could not con- scientiously vote for her. Mr. Griffiths added, with some feeling, that he bad been a member for fifteeli-years, and he "believed that he had played an honour- able part during that time—(hear, hear)— and nothing that had taken place in 'Committee had been communicated by him to the public outside. What he com- plained of was that the information, spread abroad by a brother of one of the local candidates, who declared he had had it from one of the local members on that "Committee, that he had deliberately voted against the local candidates, and that this talk had been seized upon to his detriment and as an excuse that he was no longer in touch with the Rhondda. Councillor Ben Davies moved that the name of another local lady be added to the short list toi be considered that day. Dr. Thomas submitted that Councillor Davies was entirely out of order, as the Committee had been empowered to make the short list. The Deputy Clerk having read a minute of the Council on the point, Councillor Davies thereupon moved that the matter be again referred back to the Health Committee. Councillor D. Ro. Jones asked whether they should not have some regard to the expenses incurred in bringing the appli- cants there that day from various places. The Health Committee could be trusted to select the best candidates for the short list without any animus or favouritism whatever. He voted for those whom he considered the best candidates, and having done so at the behest of the Council, lie believed they were perfectly right in submitting; that short list that day. Inasmuch: as the candidates had been brought there from long distances, a delay would give rise to a great .storm of indignation and discontent. He believed that Mr. Davies' proposition was ultra vires. Councillor Wight contended that Mr. Davies' resolution was perfectly out of order. It was the first time in his recol- lection that such, a, proceeding had been advocated, and the idea that each. one should have the work of the Committee revised because there was a local candi- date he would like on the short list was perfectly despicable. He thereofre hoped the Council would not allow such a reso- lution to pass. Councillor Tom Eivans said it was a very dangerous precedent to give power to a Committee to do a certain work, and then, because of some local feeling, to go out of their way to nullify the work of that Committee. He was prepared to go as far as anyone in favour of local candidates, providing; they had the neces- sary qualifications, and he would vote for them first of all. But when they had local candidates who did not possess the requisite qualifications, he was not pre- pared to do it. Councillor R. S. Griffiths said that the Health Committee had been at great pains to select the best eight out of the forty-four calldidaes who, in their opinion, could discharge the duties of a Health Visitor. Among the eight ladies on the short list were several who had been doing the actual work which they were expected to do under the Council, and he would challenge, anyone to say that the eight selected were not the best out of the forty-four. In their selection the Committee were assisted by one or two medical gentlemen besides the Medical Officer of Health, and before reducing the list- they struck out six can- didates who had no qualifications what- ever. Before proceeding any further, the Committee had detailed information from the Medical Officer of Health as to the relative value to be placed upon the qualifications set against the name of each candidate, and they then proceeded deliberately to select the best eight to appear before the Council. He was very sorry to hear that information which ought to be regarded as strictly privileged had been scattered throughout the dis- trict to the detriment of a Councillor who, in the course of a few weeks, would seek re-election at the hands of the elec- tors. He claimed to know the history cf the Council for the past fifteen years, and during all thpt time ti ey had squared their business around those tables and not call in the aid of factions outside to do the work for them (applause). It would be a, bad day for the welfare of the ratepayers, concluded Mr. Griffiths, if they were going to change their methods. Councillor J. D. Williams: As one who is seeking re-election, and who hopes to be returned—(laughter, and hear, hear)— yes, I shall be returned, too—(much laughter)—I think it would be very un- fortunate for thevCbumcil to refer this matter back again to the Cbmmittee, especially as the ladies are here. I think myself that the Committee has been very wise and have made the best selection possible out of the list they had before them. We have a sentiment as regards local candidates, and I would like to see local applicants being appointed, but at the same time I would not allow that to govern my feeling. What we want is to appoint the best ladies in the interests of the district, and I say it without fear of contradiction, that this selection is the best of the applicants the Committee had before them. Councillor Thos. Griffiths said that, as the oldest member of the Council, he was sorry to note the feeling imported into this matter. He had had no choice in the Selection of the candidates, but he complimented the Health Committee on the selection they had made, especially as far as paper went. It was a new thing in the history of the Council that matters referred "to Committees were cast to the winds. It was quite, a new departure, and he did not think it was calculated to serve the best interests of the Council (hear, heart). Dr. Thomas. said that as another who was seeking re-election, but who was not confident of being returned like Mr. J. D. Williams—(laughter)—he supported the selection of the Health Committee, because he felt it was the best possible. He would feel himself unworthy of being a member of the Council if members were going outside in order to prejudice were mind in the favour of a local candidate. Councillor D. C. Evans supported, add- ing that in time of election they ought at any rate to be true to one another. A vote being called, the majority voted in favour of the Health Committee's selection, those voting against being Councillors W. T. Davies, Ben Davies, and Lewis Hopkins. Councillor L. W. Llewelyn thereupon asked the Medical Officer of Health to give his opinion as to which of the candi- dateisi were the best in his opinion. Dr. Thomas demurred to this question, as it would place the Medical Officer of Health in an awkward position if the Council voted against those he had recom- mended. In reply to Dr. Thomas, the Medical Officer of Health said that either of the candidates was fully qualified to carry out the duties expected of her, and that, in his opinion, the selection could not be much improved upon. The eight selected to appear before the Council were the following: —Miss M. Bible, Levenshulme; Miss Sarah A. Birch, Burnley; Miss Florence George, New Quay, Cardiganshire; Miss Orlo. S. Harding, Ticehurst, Sussex Miss Mary E. Hatton, Norwich; Miss Madeline John, Chelsea, London: Miss Jessie M. Jones, Llaneliy; and Miss Frances M. Jump, Burnley. I Each of the above candidates, with the exception of Miss Birch, who was ill, appeared before the Council, and were I interrogated as to their experience in health visiting and other work. Ques- tioned as to her knowledge of Welsh, Miss John said that she could speak colloquial Welsh, adding that in the Rhondda people did not talk grammatical Welsh (loud laughter). Dr. Thomas: You) are referring to Llwynypia now (laughter). b Miss John: There is no professor in the Rhondda who would be an authority on the subject (laughter). Another applicant (Miss Jones, Llan- elly) also declared that she could speak Welsh. Councillor Thos. Griffiths: Gellwch chwi garu yn Gymraeg ? Applicant: Gallaf (loud laughter). I After some, very close voting, Miss John and Misls Jones) were appointed. The post is worth £ 80 a year, rising to £120. NOTIFICATION OF BIRTHS' ACT. A protracted discussion arose over the question of adopting the Notification of Births Act. The Medical Officer of Health said that, speaking as a member of the medical profession, there were many things in the Act to which he objected, but speaking as a Medical Officer of Health, he was of opinion that the adoption of the Act would be of real benefit to the Rhondda. Dr. Thomas said that the Act was aptional and was devised mainly to pre- vent concealment of birth. He main- tained that in the Rhondda, where every- ont knew his neighbour, such a, thing was impossible, and he was therefore of the opinion that there was no need to adopt the Act. Dr. Tribe shared his medical colleague's opinion, adding that the Act was mainly intended for the slum districts of large towns. Councillor R. S. Griffiths, said that the question for them to consider was whether f,he adoption of the Act would tend to lessen the high rate of infantile mortality in the district. He believed that the Act was intended to assist in that direc- tion, and now that they had appointed two Health Visitors, it would be part of their duties, on notification of birth, to proceed to the house where, a child was born as early as possible, and use their tact and discretion in instructing the mother how it should be reared. A great number of children died when they were only a few hours old, and the first notifi- cation the Medical Officer of Health had of their existence was the fact of their death. If there were no stronger reasons for putting the Act into force, he cer- tainly believed that in the interests of the health of the district they should adopt it. Dr. Thomas, in reply to Councillor Harries, said there was undoubtedly a great mortality among infants under six weeks old, which was not preventible, and with which feeding had nothing to do. It was after that the errors of diet commenced, and it was generally when infants were between three and nine months old that the preventible deaths occurred. He, however, objected to the adoption of the Act, because it would impose a double obligation upon the father to register his child. Dr. Jenkins (Medical Officer of Health), in reply to a further question, said that the proportion of deaths among infants under six weeks old was 35 per cent. Some of these occurred immediately after birth, and there was no means of pre- venting that. He, however, maintained that between the first ten days of the child's existence and the time it was registered a great deal could be done to prevent death, and under these circum- stances nowhere was the Act more needed than in the Rhondda. The Act bad already been adopted by 127 Authorities. Councillor R. S. Griffiths moved the adoption of the Act, and Councillor Dl. Evans seconded. Councillor Thos. Griffiths moved a direct negative, because any information connected with births could be obtained from the Registrar. During the first few weeks a child would be under the care of the doctors and midwife, and lie did not think that it would obtain better attention at the hands of the Health Visitors. Besides, the adoption of the Act would create other offices, and would consequently entail a waste of money. Dr. Thomas, in seconding, remarked that if the Health Visitors visited a house where a midwife was already in attendance, there would surely be a quarrel Uaugnter). On being put to a vote, 12 voted for the adoption of the Act and 8 against. DISGRACEFUL PRINTING. Before proceeding to open the tenders for the year's printing, Councillor Wight moved that the tender of the printer of last year's minutes should not be con- dered, as the manner in which he had turned out the work last year was simply disgraceful." Dr. Thomas remarked that it would be better not to have a, resolution to that effect, or it might be construed as vindictiveness on their part. Five tenders: only were received, that of Mr. John Davies, Pentre, being the successful one. THE ASSISTANT MEDICAL OFFICER OF HEALTH. A list of applications for the post of Assistant Medical Officer of Health was placed before the Council, and the Health Committee was instructed to draw up a short list and present it to the next meeting. OVERSEERS. The following were appointed as over- seers for the coming year: —Messrs. Griffith Evans, Thos. George, Thos. Griffiths, W. D. Wight, David Smith, and Walter Williams. THE ANNUAL MEETING. As the Friday on which the next meeting falls due is Good Friday it was decided to hold the annual meeting of the Council on the Thursday immediately preceding Good Friday.
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