Local Councillor Mark Hood was snubbed by Community Councillor Chair Ernest McPherson, during the public meeting for March, resulting in three Community Councillors walking out of the meeting, and the actions of the Chair branded ‘rude’ and ‘disgusting’ by other Community Councillors.
The rift between the local Councillor and Chair began during an update on developments and various issues regarding Mossmorran. Councillor Mark Hood began giving an update to the Community Council regarding the Air and Safety Committee for Mossmorran, when Chair McPherson began talking over Hood and requested his silence, eventually dismissing Hoods update as being ‘political’.
Hood tried to defend his position but was silenced by McPherson who informed Hood that he can speak when he is providing the Councillors local update report.
Discussions continued, with Hood remaining silent, and finally, Hood had the opportunity to provide his local report.
First, Hood stated that he would like to rightfully defend himself over the accusation of being political, and again McPherson ignored Hood, continuing to talk over him, even though other Community Councillors were requesting that Hood be allowed to speak, and that they were interested in what Hood had to say.
Hood, again, requested that he be able to provide his update, voicing his position, and requested that he be allowed to speak for 2 minutes. McPherson agreed, but as soon as Hood began on his report, McPherson again began talking over him. At this point, Hood informed McPherson that there would be no point of him being here, if he cannot speak, and if McPherson continues to talk over him, then he would have no option but to leave.
Again, Hood tried to give his update on Mossmorran, and again McPherson spoke over him, resulting in Hood walking out of the meeting.
This resulted in several Community Councilors criticising McPherson for his actions, mainly for the rudeness, and questioning his style of chairing a meeting. It was pointed out to McPherson, that he regularly ignores, or talks over other Community Councillors, and that this is not appropriate behaviour for a Chairperson, who is required to be impartial, and is only there to ensure the smooth running of a meeting.
McPherson dismissed the criticisms, and talked over other Community Councillors that had the floor, at which point, McPherson was further accused of ‘dominating’ the Community Council meetings.
McPherson continued ignoring the concerns and issues raised by the Community Councillors, which led to two Community Councillors walking out of the meeting. A third Community Councillor raised their objections over McPhersons behaviour, and again McPherson ignored and talked over the issue, causing a third Community Councilor to walk out of the meeting.
The actions of the Chair was branded ‘rude’ and ‘disgusting’, yet no apology was forth coming. McPherson tried to resume the meeting, but the significant walk out by a local Councillor and three Community Councillors, caused much concern to some of the other Community Councillors, who proceeded to condemn the actions and behaviour of McPherson.
After a debate regarding the behaviour of the Chair with no resolution or apologies regarding the rift, the meeting resumed as normal, minus the local Councillor, and three Community Councillors.