Cash wrangle sees treasurer voted out

PUBLISHED: 09:50 02 May 2014

The Civic Society planted new trees in the Boulevard in 2013.

The Civic Society planted new trees in the Boulevard in 2013.

Archant

THE long-standing treasurer of Weston Civic Society was voted out after 25 years in the post following disagreements about the group's near - £200,000 bank balance.

Bob Smart, who has been a member of the society for more than 40 years, was beaten to the post by Brian Ruse following a ballot.

A wrangle over finances has been continuing for over a year, and on Monday night members said there was confusion over who was in charge of the society’s pot of cash.

At last year’s general meeting, Martin Taylor, a member for nearly 40 years, quit as chairman while the society’s secretary Chris Barker also stood down.

Last year, the Charity Commission was also asked to intervene in a row over the society’s finances, with doubt over who held the position of ‘trustees’ – people it recognises under legislation.

At the general meeting on Monday night, Mr Smart said the assets, totalling £194,354, were looked after by the trustees, who were himself, Mr Barker and Mr Taylor.

Other members argued the trustees should be the executive committee.

But there was confusion over whether the executive committee had been voted for or not.

Some members said they had elected the committee at the general meeting last year and they should therefore be the trustees, while Mr Smart said they were unelected.

He said: “The problem we have at the moment is a system where people invited themselves to join the committee.

“Nobody was voted in as the constitution stated anyone who wanted to join the committee could join.”

There was further disagreement over the status of the executive as members had earlier voted to accept the minutes from the last annual meeting – in which a committee was reported to have been elected.

Former executive member Tony West said: “I am an original member and we have done marvellous work but are now not working within the law.

“I’m handing in my notice and will not stand anymore. We as an executive cannot even have a list of the members.”

A new executive committee was elected, while Rosemary Dowie was confirmed as chairman for a second year, having stood unopposed for the position.

David Agassiz will continue as secretary.

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