No show Penryn councillors will 'try' to make civic ceremonies
The thorny issue of councillors’ lack of attendance at Penryn civic ceremonies was back with a vengeance this week.
At a council meeting on Monday, town clerk Michelle Davey put forward a report recommending that councillors adopt an official list of ceremonies they are expected to attend.
They were also asked to consider amending the declaration that they read aloud when taking up office so that it contained the words: “I undertake to attend a minimum of three official civic ceremonies each year.”
The recommendations came from a meeting of the management committee last month and mayor Gill Grant told councillors the issue had “come up, as well you know, because of a lack of support at church services.”
Reaction to the proposals was split, with councillors John Langan and Mark Snowdon calling only for the list of events to be adopted.
Mr Snowdon summed up his thoughts on the additional suggested clause when he said: “ask me to do something and I will go to the end of the world for you, tell me to do something and we will have problems.”
Councillor Vicki Bennett stressed that the clause “is only asking you to attend three of those ceremonies - three out of a choice of eight.”
But Mr Langan said the clause should be removed altogether.
“There's no sanction,” he said. “You are not going to get sacked if you don't turn up so what's the point?”
Councillor Cait Hutchings tried to revive the idea by suggesting that “maybe the wording could be modified but the message is the same.”
Town clerk Michelle Davey said: “You can put what you like there but if you are going to make it something where people will do what they do now then I would suggest that you don't do it at all.”
After much horse trading, councillors agreed on adopting a clause that reads: “I undertake to support the office of town mayor by endeavouring to attend official civic ceremonies to the best of my ability.”
“That's the cop out,” Mrs Grant said.
The official list of civic ceremonies adopted by the council were Remembrance Sunday parade and service; the anniversary service; the mayor's civic service; the Christmas lights switch-on; Penryn Fair Day; the mayor choosing ceremony; VJ Day and Armistice Day.