Novices in government entities are uninformed about clerk-council legal relationship

Dear Editor,
From the number of adversarial encounters being reported as occurring in communities (old and new) across the country, it would appear as if those who supervise are clearly uncertain of their authority (or competence) to intervene and advise the raft of novices floating on top of creaky government entities.

They are under-informed about the legal relationships between clerk and councils. Accordingly the following powers, duties and responsibilities of the clerk, should be carefully noted.

The clerk
1.   He shall be responsible for convening all meetings of the council and its committees and for the preparation of agendas, minutes and reports of such council and its committees.

(1)  He  shall  advise  the  council  and  its committees on all  matters upon  which  his advice  is necessary, including the standing orders and by-laws thereof.

(2)  If the councilor or any of its committees acts against or rejects his advice, he shall be entitled to require that his advice be recorded in the minutes.

  1. He shalt either personally or by his nominee, attend all meetings of the council and of its committees.
  2. He shall advise the Mayor or chairman of the council, as the case may be, on all matters appertaining to those offices.
  3. Subject to any general directions which the council may give, he shall have the charge and custody of, and be responsible for, all charters, deeds, records and other documents belonging to the council which shall be kept as the council may direct.
  4. He shall have the duty of ensuring that the business of the council is carried out with order, regularity and expedition in accordance with the by-laws, resolutions and standing orders of the council.
  5. He shall have the responsibility for the general correspondence of the council.
  6. Where any document is required as a necessary step in legal proceedings on behalf of the council, he shall sign such document unless any written law otherwise requires or authorizes, or the council shall have given the necessary authority to some other person for the purpose or such proceedings.
  7. He shall have the conduct of such negotiations on behalf of the council as the council may require.
  8. He shall have the responsibility for conveying decisions of the council to local government officers in the service or the council relating to their work and conduct.
  9. He shall, where legally qualified so to do, give general legal advice to the council, and whether legally qualified or not, to local government officers in the service of the council on questions arising with regard to their official duties and obligations.

Having reviewed the above, must not we citizens wonder at the ill-informed resistance to engaging taxpayers in discussion aimed at radically making relevant an outdated Municipal and District Councils Act Cap 28:01?

Yours faithfully,
E B John

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