Linden Mayor, Town Clerk in tussle over duties

The last statutory meeting of the Linden Mayor and Town Council ended prematurely once again as the Mayor and the Town Clerk continued to wrangle over their roles and responsibilities.

At last week’s meeting, Mayor Carwyn Holland accused Town Clerk Jonella Bowen of refusing to take instructions from him and the council, which he blamed for stagnating the movement of the council.

He also pointed out that the minutes from the previous meeting were incorrectly formatted and contained grammatical errors and were not accepted.

Mayor Carwyn Holland (left) and  Town Clerk Jonella Bowen
Mayor Carwyn Holland (left) and Town Clerk Jonella Bowen

It was a heated debate between the two officials, with Mayor Holland stating that Bowen was overstepping her authority at the council.

However, Bowen, in her own defence, quoted from the Municipal and District Councils Act, which identifies the Town Clerk as the chief administrative officer of the council with general responsibility for coordinating the whole of the work of the council.

“Mr Mayor, we are again mixing up our roles based on policymakers and administration,” the Town Clerk said.

But Holland questioned the competence of Town Clerk, who he went on to described as being mediocre. He pointed out that it would be difficult for the council to move forward if the official from which the council is expected to seek guidance is unable to do so correctly.

“This council cannot be run like a cake shop and we cannot submit to mediocrity if we are moving the council forward.

We cannot be given excuses upon excuses when this council has been willing to work with you. Again you have failed,” Holland said.

Following the back and forth, Holland requested that the minutes be done in the correct format and for same to be read at the next statutory meeting.

Meanwhile, councillor Lennox Gasper, one of the few councillors who expressed their views at the meeting, said that he believed the two are fighting instead of ensuring that the work of the council is done and the town of Linden can benefit.

“There are housing, garbage, drainage and irrigation and buildings issues that fall directly under this council and we have not been doing our work, thus we are not moving forward as a council,” Gasper said.

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