Ben Dunbar Profile picture
4 Feb, 34 tweets, 10 min read
Right for those not following the #HandforthParishCouncil #JACKIEWEAVER situation my next tweets won’t be relevant, although I suggest you look it up.
For the rest of you, strap in as I think I’ve got it figured out.
First let’s introduce the cast:
These 3 are the Chair of the council, Brian Tolver (BT);
The vice-chair of the council, and chair of the finance committee Aled Brewerton (AB);
The chair of the Employment Committee Barry Birkhill (BB). ImageImageImage
The Mayor of Cheshire East Council is also called Barry Birkhill, I would guess it’s the same Barry Birkhill but that isn’t clear.
These 3 are
Cynthia (Cyn) Samson (CS)
John Smith (JS) and
Susan (Sue) Moore (SM), who is the vice-chair of the councils planning committee (the chair of the planning committee is BT) ImageImageImage
Then we have the star of the show Jackie Weaver Image
In Dec 2019 another councillor, Cllr Jean Thompson (JT) (no picture) failed to attend a council meeting, she didn’t attend another council meeting, or committee meeting until March 2020.
In March 2020 #Lockdown1 started and #HandforthParishCouncil didn’t have any meetings until 25/08/20, so Cllr Thompson had failed to attend a council meeting for over 8 months.
A lot of similar councils had held virtual council meetings and the like between March 2020 and late August 2020, a point made by a member of the public.
In June 2020 the council clerk, Ashley Cominski Dawson (ACD) having clearly sought advice from democracy advisors in Cheshire East Council, declared that JT had effectively resigned from her post as she had failed to attend a council meeting for 6 months, in line with legislation
This notice was posted publicly in appropriate places. At the next council meeting, a meeting of the employment committee on 25/08/20 there was discussion over the legality of this notice.
AB, a man who seemingly likes to involve legal advice at most opportunities, gave a synopsis of the legal advice he had received on his own behalf over the matter. He hadn’t involved the other councillors prior to obtaining this advice, so the legal advice was confidential to AB.
This personal legal advice seemed to indicate that ACD had acted illegally by declaring JT had resigned. But only a synopsis could be provided, and the opinion of the local MP, Esther McVay was also sought, who also thought it to be unjust given the circumstances.
So the employment committee ordered its clerk ACD to change previous notifications about JT’s resignations, reinstate JT to the council and write a formal apology to JT.
However, ACD had been advised by Cheshire East Council that this would be illegal as legal process had been followed in declaring JT had resigned.
The Employment Committee, or more accurately 3/5ths of it, but 3/4s of the eligible members also decided that they would investigate the conduct of ACD.

The members in favour were BB, BT and AB with CS opposed, JS and SM are not members so couldn’t vote and JT recused herself
CS wanted the council to fund its own legal advice, so the councillors could all review the legal advice without having to rely on a synopsis of it. As AB had funded the original legal advice himself, without involving all the other councillors so the legal advice was private.
This was all confirmed by the extraordinary meeting (EOM) of the council 2 days later (27/08/20) see….

Again the members in favour were BT, AB and BB. The members against were JS, CS and SM. BT as chair cast the deciding vote.
To further complicate matters there was an apparent breech of confidentiality during the meeting of the employment committee involving Cheshire East Council and another email sent to all those present, including ACD, by apparently BT, asking how to get rid of ACD.
This effectively split #HandforthParishCouncil in 2 with BT, AB, and BB (Party 1) on one side, presumably also with JT (but her standing isn’t clear) and JS, CS and SM with presumably ACD on the other side (Party 2)
The employment committee (BB, AB and BT) suspended ACD and began getting assistance from other local (Bollington council) clerks for their meetings. It should be noted that JS asked about others joining the employment committee but was told that was illegal as the ToR were fixed.
JS, CS and SM (party 2) then started requesting extra ordinary meetings for the planning committee and the council. This is where Jackie Weaver comes in as she is clearly been drafted in to support those extra ordinary meetings requested by JS, CS and SM.
Party 1 started holding meetings often minuted by AB, which would then be undone by Party 2’s meetings that were always EOM meetings as the power in the council lies with party 1, as they are the Chair and Vice-Chair of the council and Chair all the committees.
This is what leads to the infamous meetings- the planning meeting and subsequent council meeting.

Party 2 have seemingly acted properly by requesting the Chair, BT, hold an EOM for the planning committee and EOM council meeting, with 7 days notice
The agendas are published 7 days in advance of the meeting, indicating the required notice. Except the Chair doesn’t seemingly want to recognise the proper filing for EOMs and gets aggressive with Jackie Weaver. AB and BB also get very confrontational so Jackie Weaver boots them
Effectively the current situation is still with #HandforthParishCouncil split in 2, although party 1 are not really engaging and the minutes of their meetings are not published, probably because Jackie Weaver knows what she’s doing and they don’t.
Meanwhile party 2 are holding meetings viewable on zoom, properly minuted, thanks to Jackie Weaver, and have seemingly reinstated ACD with some public support. All the while party 1 are rescinding actions from party 2’s meetings and vice-versa.
I, and I think quite a few others eagerly await the next episode. It’s likely to involve party 1 rescinding all of party 2’s decisions from the most recent EOM of the council, including presumably reinstating ACD.
But clearly if Netflix don’t commission a series on the drama of #HandforthParishCouncil since December 2019 then their reputation will be damaged. I’m just questioning who gets to play #JACKIEWEAVER
It turns out the next episode, or at least the one after the next episode is a bit more mundane.

I present to you the draft minutes of the next Planning Committee of #HandforthParishCouncil from yesterday.…

ACD now reinstated
BB absent, no apologies, (that’s slightly improper conduct from the Mayor of Cheshire East, it is the same person after all)
JT absent, shock, has she been reinstated?
AB absent, with apologies
SM, JS, and CS all present as is BT as Chair
#JACKIEWEAVER’s minutes from 10/12/20 approved without challenge or correction, difficult as the Chair wasn’t actually in the meeting having been kicked out by Jackie. But did we expect anything else from the star.
Unfortunately with ACD’s reinstatement it seems this will be the last #HandforthParishCouncil will see of #JACKIEWEAVER. She seems destined for a brief 4 part cameo in the drama, but she will be everyone’s favourite character for the Netflix series.

Then again she may return...
Fans of the #HandforthParishCouncil series eagerly await the next minuted meeting of the council, somehow I don’t think the drama is over yet.
Thanks to @SiGmund63 for finding the minutes of the planning committee, especially as they aren’t on the #HandforthParishCouncil website yet. #Chapeau to him.

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