Sey­mour crit­i­cized by ci­ti­zen

Bay Roberts deputy mayor on re­ceiv­ing end of ver­bal broad­side

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

Vet­eran town coun­cil­lor Bill Sey­mour chaired his first meet­ing of the Bay Roberts town coun­cil on Sept 13. But it’s likely one he’ll want to for­get.

Sey­mour, who is the deputy mayor, came in for some pointed criticism from out­spo­ken res­i­dent Patricia Ge­orge, who is the ci­ti­zen rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Bay Roberts on the Shearstown Es­tu­ary Joint Man­age­ment Com­mit­tee. Sey­mour is the coun­cil rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

Ge­orge, a re­tired ed­u­ca­tor, lob­bied coun­cil to ap­point her as the vot­ing del­e­gate for the town at the Stew­ard­ship As­so­ci­a­tion of Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties meet­ings, to be held in Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay from Oct. 1214. That post is cur­rently held by Sey­mour.

In do­ing so, she was highly crit­i­cal of Sey­mour’s per­for­mance and com­mit­ment to the com­mit­tee.

“I mean no dis­re­spect to Mr. Sey­mour’s po­si­tion as deputy mayor and coun­cil­lor, but this re­quest is long over­due,” Ge­orge said in her pre­sen­ta­tion to coun­cil.

Ge­orge pre­sented coun­cil with a list of rea­sons why she should be en­dorsed as the vot­ing del­e­gate. SAM gives fi­nan­cial aid to one vot­ing del­e­gate from each town.

At the top of Ge­orge’s list was Sey­mour’s less-than-stel­lar at­ten­dance record at com­mit­tee meet­ings.

“He has at­tended two out of 10 group meet­ings, and there­fore has lit­tle or no knowl­edge about the in­ner work­ings of the group,” she said.

In ex­plain­ing some of his tru­ancy, Sey­mour ex­plained he has been bat­tling ill­ness over the past year.

“Two of those meet­ings I was in hospi­tal, let’s not for­get,” Sey­mour re­torted.

Fur­ther­more, Ge­orge stated that Sey­mour has not con­trib­uted to any projects in the last seven years, and when at­tend­ing larger meet­ings, fails to fol­low the agenda and of­ten strays off topic.

“What ex­pe­ri­ences can Mr. Sey- mour share with the other mem­bers … that have to do with our new in­for­ma­tional signs, plans for Muddy Hole cleanup or the re­cent cleanup re­sults?” Ge­orge asked rhetor­i­cally.

Ge­orge feels she is more qual­i­fied to rep­re­sent the com­mit­tee at the meet­ings be­cause of her work in plan­ning, or­ga­niz­ing, re­search­ing and im­ple­ment­ing the man­age­ment plan.

Spa­niard’s Bay town coun­cil­lor Sheri Collins has waived her vot­ing priv­i­lege in favour of ci­ti­zen Cathy Klein­wort.

“I hope that Mr. Sey­mour, too, shares this sen­ti­ment, rec­og­niz­ing my con­tri­bu­tion as the ac­tive work­ing mem­ber for Bay Roberts,” said Ge­orge.

Sey­mour sat stone-faced as Ge­orge as­sailed him with criticism, and lat­ter stated mat­ter-of-factly: “I’ve been a part of the com­mit­tee for 14 years and I’ve al­ways brought back my re­ports to coun­cil.”

Main­tain­ing his com­po­sure, Sey­mour added: “If the town says tonight, ‘Mr. Sey­mour, you can’t go to Labrador or Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay, I’ll ac­cept it,’” he said. “But, to change it now just be­cause some­one wants to go to the Labrador, I don’t feel very good about it.”

To help solve the prob­lem, Coun. Wal­ter Yet­man made a mo­tion to have the fi­nance com­mit­tee re­view the re­quest. This was sup­ported by the elected body.

A rec­om­men­da­tion is expected at tonight’s (Sept. 25) coun­cil meet­ing.

First time in the chair

Sey­mour has served on coun­cil for 19 years, and was en­dorsed as deputy mayor in 2011 when Philip Wood took over as mayor from Glenn Littlejohn, who was elected as Port de Grave MHA.

Wood has been out of the coun­try, leav­ing Sey­mour, the sec­ondin-com­mand, the duty of chair­ing the Sept. 13 meet­ing.

For the Shearstown res­i­dent, the meet­ing was the usual fair of res­i­den­tial build­ing per­mit ap­provals, res­i­dent cor­re­spon­dence and the ap­proval of coun­cil ex­penses.

There were a cou­ple of in­stances where Sey­mour needed to be reined in be­cause he skipped some steps in the process, but other than that Sey­mour kept the meet­ing rolling along with min­i­mal in­ter­rup­tions.

Sey­mour is expected to re­turn to his post as deputy mayor dur­ing this week’s meet­ing.

nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

THE COM­PASS Pho­tos by Ni­cholas Mercer/the Com­pass

Deputy Mayor Bill Sey­mour chaired the coun­cil meet­ing in Bay Roberts, Sept. 13 in place of Mayor Philip Wood. It marked the first time in Sey­mour’s 19-year ca­reer in mu­nic­i­pal pol­i­tics that he has sat in the mayor’s chair. Patricia Ge­orge lobbed some in­tense criticism at Bay Roberts Deputy Mayor Bill Sey­mour dur­ing a reg­u­lar coun­cil meet­ing on Sept. 13.

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