MEA councillors fail to decide on AGM date

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Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has yet to decide on a firm date for its annual general meeting after the majority of members voted against a date recommended by their Chief Executive.

Under legislation, the council is directed to hold such a meeting in June each year but at their January meeting on Monday night, members decided not to hold the AGM for 2016-17 on the evening of Tuesday June 28.

That was the date recommended by their Chief Executive Anne Donaghy, who pointed out that this would allow for a smooth cycle of June meetings to be completed and would allow the new Mayor, Deputy Mayor and committee chairs to get the new cycle of meetings underway in July.

Councillor Declan O’Loan said he was “surprised” at the recommended date as the AGM was traditionally held at the start of June.

He suggested that it be held on Wednesday June 1.

His remarks were supported by Cllr Stephen Nicholl, who said that he and his party colleagues “couldn’t see the rationale” behind the recommendation.

Responding, Mrs Donaghy said that the recommendation had been “primarily administrative”.

“The Local Government Act says ‘during the month of June’ and we are meeting that commitment,” she added.

Councillors went on to vote against the proposal of Cllr May Beattie, seconded by Cllr Beth Adger, to support the recommended date of June 28 with 15 members voting in favour and 17 against.

It was generally agreed on the suggestion of Cllr Stephen Nicholl that an alternative date would be discussed at the next monthly meeting.

Also discussed at the council meeting on January 4 was the replacement of Cllr James McKeown on the Rural Development Programme by Cllr Paul Maguire.

It was pointed out that Cllr McKeown was stepping down due to family commitments.

The withdrawal of Cllr Noel Jordan’s resignation fromMid & East Antrim’s Planning Committee was also accepted at the meeting.

Chief Executive Anne Donaghy pointed out that Cllr Jordan “no longer had a conflict of interest” and wished to reinstate his position on the committee with immediate effect.