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WHAT IS WRONG? Reports of the meetings of Barmouth Urban Council cannot fail to give the impression that there is something radically wrong with the spirit which prevails. There is also an impression of lack of conciseness and business aptitude that makes the Council meet- ings resemble the proceedings of a vil- lage debating society rather than of a responsible public body representing an important health resort. Rambling discussions about nothing in particular are carried on in defiance of Standing Orders. Indivdiual members deliver speeches after speeches on the same subject, however irrelevant and un- necessary they be, with the result that the meetings are prolonged to the point of boredom, and that in the end im- portant business has to be rushed through, or left undone, in order to make up for waste of time. Still more serious is the insinuation of unworthy motives and the display of personal bitterness by members against each other without any apparent justi- fication. Frequently subjects are con- sidered, not on their merits, but in their relation to certain members or groups of members. That is not a recent manifestation, unfortunately for the town. It has been evident for many years in varying forms, to the discredit of the Council and the detriment of public interests. Happily, the Council have the benefit of the services of Mr William George as clerk, whose tact, legal ability, and experience of public life and sangfroid have been instru- mental in obviating what might have been serious consequences of the Council's trival divisions and undigni- fied procedure. The positions ot the officials are made doubly irks me and unsatisfactory by the Council's vaccil- lating policy. It is for the ratepayers to insist on the discordant elements in the Council being brought into harmony and to remind the members, individu- ally and collectively, that they are not elected to the Council Chamber to dis- play their own pathies and antipathies and indulge in personalities, but to serve the interests of the town and to devote to that object all their business instinct and training. The remedy for the unfriendly, irregular, and wasteful discursiveness which mars the Coun- cil's usefulness depends on obedience to the StandingOrder and on the assertion of the Chairman's authority, without regard to individual predilections The newly-appointed Chairman has a unique opportunity of rehabilitating the Council's respect in public estimation and to make an advance in progress and prosperity, but it would not be fair to place the responsibility solely on his shoulders unless he receives the assis- tance of all the members. As it is, the chairmanship is not a position which confers much honour or unpleasantness, and the members ptobably ignore the fact that in disrespecting the chair they are disrespecting themselves and the community to a larger extent. They cannot be ignorant of the feeling among outsiders and the townspeople that the town is suffering, as it ought not to be allowed to suffer, owing to quarrelsome, pettifogging, and unbusi- nesslike procedure of the Council which, if it was common, would make public life. unbearable and would pro- duce administrative incapacity and inefficiency throughout the country. As at present situated, Barmouth cannot be expected to laudch into heroic im- provement schemes, but much can be done in making more effective use of the natural advantages and beauty with which the town is blessed as attrac- tions for visitors and residents. The councillors, however, cannot hope to put the town's affair in order until they themselves properly arrange their con- duct and methods of procedure as a preliminary step. Progressive action calls for devoted service consistenly and persistently applied, for the elimina- tion of private rancour and prejudices, and for the cultivation of a wider out- look than has characterised the Coun- cil's actions hitherto. If the Council will not be sufficiently magnanimous and self-effacing to make the necessary efforts in that direction, they may be assured that when the ratepayers awake they will want to know what has been accomplished, and will help their representatives to realize that the wel- fare of the town is of more importance I than the preservation of the dignity of individuals, however important it may be in their own imagination. — From the Cambrian News."



From the Papers. I