Horrabridge Parish Council could have 10 councillors after its August meeting – closer to its theoretical full complement of 12 than it has been for some time.
Meanwhile, a new clerk has been appointed.
Shane Honey, below, of Weir Quay, is an accountant with a history of audit work for the NHS and others and is also part-time clerk to Milton Abbot Parish Council. Also, interestingly, she is a novelist.
Horrabridge had nine councillors when the West Devon elections office went through its records, three months ago, and ruled that procedures had not been strictly followed when four of the councillors were co-opted, so they had to be disqualified.
Two of those councillors, Paul Mouncher and Andrew Collins, both from the forces community in the village, have decided not to stand again. But Eric Hemsil, a long-serving member, retired from a management role in manufacturing, and Adam Minns, a young father and forestry worker, are willing to be co-opted again.
And there are three new volunteers for co-option on the list, so the five remaining councillors could appoint five more at their next meeting on August 14, if everybody meets the legal requirements.
The three new names are …
Mike Huda, landlord of the London Inn and partner in Radio Walkham, currently negotiating with Punch Taverns for a new lease.
Alan Berry, a Manor Estate resident for over 20 years, a retired teacher, active in sports organisation and a steward at Horrabridge Methodist Church when it still had its own congregation..
Christine Edmondson, of Caradon Court, who is living with serious illness but remains active on behalf of animal charities and in discussion of village affairs on Horrabridge Noticeboard.
Councillors who remained in place through the hiatus are Paul Beard, chairman, Steve Roche, deputy chairman, Andy Moorhead, Doreen Keane and Tracy Lear.
Meanwhile, it is still not clear if other councils have made the same mistakes.
The previous clerk, Andrea Taylor, took the blame for the procedural error and resigned.
But she thought it was a mistake other clerks could have made.and there was talk of West Devon having to review co-option procedures in recent years in all of the 42 parish and town councils on its patch.
A West Devon press officer said this week that there had not been a review but all clerks had been warned of the potential problem and all new clerks would be briefed on it.
Which does raise the question – unanswered so far – why Horrabridge was busted while everyone else has only been given notice to put their affairs in order if necessary.
Addition to original story:
Friends of Andrea Taylor, including a parish councillors, have asked to make clear that she resigned voluntarily and not because of the administrative error. The council was prepared to stand by her. Apologies for any misunderstanding.
* The new council clerk, Shane Honey, has published two romantic novels – Defibrillator Dollybird and Salute The Flag. The first is available in paperback from Book Stop, Tavistock, and both are available as e-books from Amazon.
Also just published in the Horrabridge Times edition for Friday August 3 2018 –