Farce at Whithorn Community Council over unpaid bill

A move to oust the treasurer of the Royal Burgh of Whithorn and District Community Council for dereliction of her duties descended into farce at the monthly meeting of Whithorn Community Council when the meeting was told the reason she had not paid an outstanding bill was because the chairman hadn’t given it to her.

Two Community Council members had written to the chairman Francis O’Neill saying that treasurer Carol White had refused to pay out money to cover expenses after the town held two separate Diamond Jubilee parties at the start of June, one in the New Town Hall and one at the ‘top of the town’.

But it soon became clear that, through a lack of communication and adherence to proper community council procedure, Mrs White was completely blameless and the complaint was quickly withdrawn along with a heartfelt apology to the treasurer.

At a meeting in May it had been agreed to take £250 from the Christmas Lights Fund for the Jubilee celebrations in the town.

Due to the community council’s insurance cover only being available for the “official” party in the Town Hall, it was felt the decision of the chairman to then involve the community council in the “unofficial” party at the top of the town by promising them financial support without consulting either the treasurer of the other CC members, had been “overstepping the mark”.

Those running the ‘top of the town’ party had also been given the verbal go ahead by the chairman to get items for their party from the local newsagent in the town - costing just over £10.

Feathers were then further ruffled when it was rumoured that the treasurer had allegedly refused to pay for these items, as they were for the ‘top of the town’ party.

But when challenged she said she had told the chairman she wasn’t paying anything she didn’t have an invoice for. A stance that Mid Galloway Council Alistair Geddes described as “perfectly reasonable”.

The bill was indeed still with the chairman and all Mrs White had received was a reminder from the newsagents that the total Community Council bill, for just over £43, was outstanding.

That, she added, had been put through her door the night before the meeting.

After a profuse apology from the chairman, an offer of reimbursement on behalf of the community council was then made to those who had put their own money into the ‘top of the town’ party but this was politely refused.

Mr Geddes suggested the newsagents’ bill was settled at that was “the matter dealt with”. He also gave the chairman a verbal slap on the wrists for letting his undoubted enthusiasm for his community lead him into making ad hoc decisions.

On a more positive note is was unanimously agreed that both Jubilee parties had been a rip-roaring success thoroughly enjoyed by residents at both ends of the town.