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. 12-14. 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. Seymour 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 second-in-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.