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Third commissioner resigns after 'Commissioner X' refuses to go

Tue, 14 Nov 2023

By Local Democracy Reporter Emma Draper
By Local Democracy Reporter Emma Draper
The chair of Patrick Commissioners has become the latest local authority member to resign after it was found one of the board acted ‘ultra vires’.
Geoffrey Gelling’s departure follows that of John Snelling and Richard Jones.
All three have now vacated their positions following the publication of a report from the Tynwald Commissioner for Administration.
That report saw Angela Main-Thompson deem Patrick Commissioners’ handling of a complaint, about work carried out to a road in the parish, as maladministration.
She also found that ‘Commissioner X’ – whose identity has been kept anonymous – carried out the work on his own terms.
At a meeting last night the individual ‘repeatedly refused’ to resign from the board leading Mr Gelling, Mr Snelling and Mr Jones to state they are ‘unwilling to continue’ in their posts.
In a statement released today (14 November) the three men say there remains a possibility that ‘Commissioner X’ could continue to act in such a matter that undermines the ‘democratic and representative nature’ of the board.
The trio adds it believes the report contained ‘many inaccuracies, inappropriate remarks to which Patrick Commissioners were not permitted to respond’ saying if there was a ‘legitimate process’ for investigating actions, or behaviour, of elected members it would be different and they would continue to wish to serve.
Full statement below: 
Regarding Resignation of 3 Patrick Commissioners today 14 November 2023
As residents of the Parish of Patrick, and – until our resignations were accepted today* – as Commissioners for the Parish, we wish to clarify the reasons for those resignations.
A recent report was authored by the Tynwald Commissioner for Administration, regarding work carried out on a road within the Parish of Patrick, which we believe contained many inaccuracies, inappropriate remarks to which the Commissioners were not permitted to respond, and which ultimately concluded that one of the Patrick Commissioners, anonymised as ‘Commissioner X’, acted ultra vires.  
At the meeting of the board last evening (13/11/23), Commissioner X, previously having failed to deny any of the allegations set out in the aforementioned report, was asked by all members of the board if they would resign. Commissioner X repeatedly refused all those requests.
In the absence of any other legitimate process for responding to, or fairly investigating the allegations in the Tynwald report, we are unwilling to continue as members of the board whilst Commissioner X remains a member, and whilst there remains the possibility of that member continuing to act in such a manner as to undermine the democratic and representative nature of the board.  
It is with great regret that we take this action, having stated that, under different circumstances – and particularly if there were a legitimate process in place for investigating the actions or behaviour of elected members – that we would wish to continue to serve.
Mr Geoffrey Gelling (ex Chair – *has also submitted his resignation as Commissioner today)
Dr John Snelling
Mr Richard Jones


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