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THE CITY BURGESS ROLL

ALLEGED ROLL-STUFFING,

Prior to last evening's ordinary meeting of the City Council, the statutary meeting of that body to hear and determine objections to the burgess roll was held. All the councillors except Cr Barron were present, though Cr Fish did not arrive till half an hour's discussion had taken place. The following report from the Town Clerk was read :

Town Clerk's Office, Dunclin, May 15,1889,

Gentlemen,—l havo the honor to Bubmit a liat of the objection* received to tho burgess roll for the year 1889-90. The total number of claims is eighty-three. In all cases the most careful inquiry possible in the circumstances has been made, and for convenience of examination tbe claim? are arranged in two groups. Firet.—The following claims I consider are conclusive, and I recommend the nameß of the claimants be enrolled, viz, -.—Edward John Bryaat, Abraham Herman, Brnjamin Curtis, Hugh Falconer, William E. Barry, Charles Robert Chapman, James Dick, Alexander Fisher. Morris Hepner, John Hounson, Nathaniel Kingston. Charles Speight, Andrew Bisset Davie, Thomas Wood, George Paul Clifford, Theodore H. Goy, William Watson. Robeit Wilson, Albert Beck, Jecse H"uneon, Jame3 Weighan, John Sim, Frank G. Walton, James Montgomery Gourley, James Moir, Alexander Rose, Edwin Thomas Wood, George Terry, George Foreman. Second.—The following Ido not think satisfactorily established, and recommend that the claims he disallowed, viz.:—George Hutchings, Pr-rcy Silke Brodie. John Wells. Hugh Mulloy, Willi »m Francis O'Connell, Margaret Thorn, Michael Phelan, James Taggart, Alfred Turnbull, James Smeaton, John Carlin, Daniel M'Lean Campbell. John O'Brien, RobeitMason, James Deane, John Stewart, Peter Devow, John Murray, James A. Weir, Thomas Schofield. William Foster, Henry Lookwood. W. J, AUdred, James Glossop, Jonas Kilby, James Murray. Alexander Henderson, John Taylor, W. H. Wood, Thomas Ross, John Queen, William Gregg, Thomas Day, J. Wood, Harry Houghton B>iley. Andrew Martinelli, John Potter Chapman, Harry Nesbitt, James Miller, Robert Pattison, James Shepherd, James Michie, Albert Keast, Henry ErrMge, James M'Grath. James Fleming, Sonhus Thorwold Petersen, Harry Salter Dick, W. E. Runeiman, Fred 1 burgarland, W. H. Smith, RobertD. Kenny, Joseph E*k dale, James George Strachan.—l have, etc., Adam Gibson, Town Clerk. The following letter leceived that afternoon was also read : Dunedin, May 15,1889.

Gentlemen,—The parties named below seeking to be placed on the roll are my tenants by lease for one year from the Ist April, 1889, and the amounts of tent are-Mr Foreman, York Dlace, L2l per year ; Mr Schofield, York piece, L2l; Mr Lockwood, York place, L2l; Mr Fotter, Filleul street, L2l; Mr Campbell, Maclaggan street, L2l; Mr Murray, Forth street, 134, —I am, etc., GEOBOK Batem AN. It was agreed that the names of the persons mentioned in Mr Bateman's list should be transferred from the second list to the first one.

Cr Smith said there were a large number of claims objected to by the town clerk, and he thought they should have information aB to the position in which those claiuiß stood, so that they might know on what grounds the objections were made by the town clerk. There was something absolutely bad about the matter, and it would be interesting to the public to know all about it,

Cr Solomon said he would move—" That the recommendations of the town clerk with respect to the first list, amended by the addition of the names of Mr Bateman's tenants, be adopted, and that the names in the seeond list be disallowed."

Cr Cramond supported the suggestion that the recommendations re the first list of names be adopted,

Cr Sinclair said it was moßt extraordi- | nary that so large a number of applications should have been made by persons who had apparently no qualification at all. He thought the matter needed inquiry, and if there had been any attempt to unduly stuff the burgess roll it should be made known, there was a strong probability, from the fact of so many applications having been objected to by the town clerk, that such an attempt had been made. The motion was carried on tho voices so far as the first clause was concerned. •

Cr SOLOMON said that he -would next move —" That tho claims of the persons mentioned in the second list be disallowed." Cr Kimbell seconded the motion. Cr Smith moved as an amendment—- " That a committee be appointed to inquire into the nature of these claims." He thought that if a committee made up of say one councillor from each ward inquired thoroughly into the matter it would give more satisfaction to the public. The Mayor pointed out that Cr Smith could move the adjournment of the meeting for three days, and in tho meantime a committee, as suggested by Cr Smith, could meet to go over the claims and report to the adjourned meeting. Cr Smith said he would accept the suggestion, his only intention being that the Council should have information as tothe nature of the claims. It was not sufficient to take the town clerk's ipse dixit, though he must know more than they did. He had no doubt that the town clerk had satisfied himself, and that he was perfectly right; but at the same time the Council ought to know more, He would move the adjournment of the Council for three days.and the appointment of a committee, consisting of the Mayor, Crs Solomon, Cohen, Fish, and Hardy, to report upon the nature of the applications. Cr Cohen did not quite see the object to be gained by the appointment of a committee, for he understood that the matter must be disposed of with all convenient haste. The question was whether the Council were satisfied with the objections made by the town clerk ? If they were, they ought to sustain them at once and reject the applications, and that was the course he would like to see adopted. As to the claims in question, ho might say that he had been at pains to go through the list, and he would state there publicly that never before in his life had he seen a more extraordinary list of claims to vote. It seemed to him that the intention was to crowd on the roll not only holdings on which rates were paid and claims to vote were made, but also to crowd every outhouse and appurtenance on the list. In one case the claimant's qualification appeared to be merely an apartment in the premises. If it was to be contended that property outside that upon which rates were paid gave a qualification, the sooner the Council looked into the matter and made representations to the Legislature the better. He thought that enough had been shown to warrant the appointment of a committee, but he also thought that the action of the town clerk was a right and proper one, and that from what had been shown in his report the Council would be justified in rejecting the whole of the names contained in the second list. He was satisfied that if the Committee went through the claims in the second list, and saw by whom they were ostensibly made, and the manner in which they were made, they would come to the conclusion that a more deliberate attempt to stuff the roll had never been made since the Municipal Corporations Act had come into operation.

Cr Sinclair thought that there was no question an attempt was being made to stuff the roll, and he considered it almost criminal that persons should put forward claims such as some of those that had been sent in.

Cr Solomon said that to obviate any difficulty he would move his resolution in this form—" That tho claims of the persons mentioned in the second list be rejected, and that a committee of four councillors bo appointed to report upon the nature of the claims that have been sent in." Cr Smith said he would accept this amendment,

Cr Haynes said he was strongly of opinion that the claims must be considered by the Council as a whole, and suggested that the Council adjourn the matter for three days with the view of taking it up at a special meeting. Cr Fish said that he had no idea that the present meeting had been called for 6.30 p.m. The Town Clerk remarked that the usual notices had been sent to councillors. Cr Fish said that if he received such a notice he had failed to observe the time fixed for the meeting, and he thought it was moat impioper that the Council should be called together at such an hour as half-past six—that councillors should be hurried away from their dinner tables, in fact, to discuss a question of this grave importance and be expected to hurry it through in half an hour. He endorsed the general principle laid down by Cr Haynes that the Council alone had the right to purge the roll, and he objected to the matter going to a committee to say who should be on the roll and who should be off it. In any event he would support any motion that had for its object tho adjournment of the meeting. The Mayor remarked that it was the annual statutory meeting, and could be adjourned foi no longer than three days. If the resolution were carried no harm could be done to those whose applications the town clerk had objected to, they could apply again at any time—immediately if they thought proper—and the roll was always revised a month prior to the elections.

Cr Fish said that a month before tho mayoral election it was known who were the candidates, a great deal of feeling was shown, and claims were allowed and rejected that should not be allowed or rejected. He thought that the settlement of the roll should take place in what he might call calm blood. Crs Cramond, Cohen, and Carroll expressed themselves in support of the town clerk's recommendation.

Cr Fish contended, firstly, that the town clerk had no power to make objections; an.l, secondly, that the Council could adjourn the matter for as long a period as it liked. He would move that the meeting adjourn for a week. Cr Haynes seconded this amendment. Cr Cohen intimated that he would oppose the amendment. The Mayor pointed out again that the meeting could be adjourned tor three days only, but he thought the difficulty might be got over by adjourning till Saturday morning, when it could be again adjourned till Wednesday next, Cr Fish said he must lodge a protest, feeling persuaded that the town clerk had exceeded his statutory powers and acted illegally. If his protest wasof no avail he would individually, and at his own expense, take steps to prove whether the town clerk was right or wrong. The Mayor here interrupted the speaker with a remark that he must "stop this." His Worship then put the amendment, which was lost, and Cr Solomon's motion was then carried on the voices. Cr Fish subsequently entered the follow ing protest: —

Dunedin, May 15,1889.

I hereby beg to protest againtt the action taken by the Council this evening in connection with the burgess roll, inasmuch as the duty of the Council was only to oonsider the valuation roll, a.t prepared, as a result of the valuators inquiries and valuation; that the Council has no right at this meeting to consider fresh applications to be placed upon the roll, either to accept or reject same ; that the names of persons to-night agreed to be placed upon the burgess roll, as they do not appear on the valuation roll, is illegal.—l am, etc, H. S. Fish, jun.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890516.2.36

Bibliographic details

THE CITY BURGESS ROLL, Issue 7908, 16 May 1889

Word Count
1,937

THE CITY BURGESS ROLL Issue 7908, 16 May 1889

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