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councillor anne jonesCouncillor Anne Jones Obstructs Burgess Hill Uncovered's Reporting Of Council Meeting

30th March 2017
by Peter Chapman

It's the morning after the night before, and your reporter is still livid by the bizarre actions of District Councillor Anne Jones (Meeds Ward)

Last night's meeting of the full council at the MSDC chamber in Haywards Heath was progressing as normal. Up in the public gallery were the usual faces - a member of the MSDC Democratic Services Team, Johsua Powling from the Mid Sussex Times, and myself. No ordinary members of the public were present.

About 45 minutes into the meeting, the door to the public gallery opened, I assumed it was a member of staff, but no, I turned round to see Cllr Anne Jones - the councillor whose arse should have been sat in her seat downstairs, representing her residents, taking part in the debate where necessary. For some reason, she decided that coming up to the public gallery mid-meeting was perfectly acceptable.

What she also deemed acceptable was to walk up to me, and begin to have a conversation! Regular readers will know that I audio record all the council meetings for accuracy in my reporting, it also serves as proof if my stories are ever challenged - it's serious work folks!

So here was Anne Jones, ruining my recording, preventing me from listening to the meeting and taking notes.

I pointed out that I was recording, to which she responded by saying she'd stand the other side of me so that her voice won't get picked up. Considering I was recording voices of people downstairs, her solution of moving an extra metre away was laughable!

When I still made it clear that I did not want to talk as I was reporting on the meeting; instead of going back downstairs, Cllr Jones sat right next to me, totally invading my precious personal space.

As all this was happening, the cabinet members, the chief executive, and senior officers (who sit facing the public gallery) were all looking up, they had expressions on their faces which screamed 'What on earth is that woman doing now?'

Hampered, and completely put off by Cllr Jones' unwanted presence, I got up and moved to the far side of the public gallery. Unfortunately the air disturbance of me taking up a new position caused a laminated A4 sheet to fall off the edge of the balcony, down onto the councillors below. Blame Anne Jones!

When the meeting came to an end, Cllr Jones inevitably came over. She told me that she didn't want me to report on what she had said earlier in the meeting. Oh dear. So not only had she disrupted my work and ruined my recording, she was now telling me what I can and cannot report at a public meeting. That's rather serious and brings Mid Sussex District Council into disrepute!

Of course, I admonished Cllr Jones for her unacceptable behaviour, and pointed out that I don't stop her from doing her role during the meeting, so why should she stop mine? The worst thing of all is that she didn't seem to think there was a problem with what she had done!

I reminded Cllr Jones that she has caused me enough problems over the past few years and that I wasn't interested in her request. Good readers, this isn't the first time that Anne Jones has tried to dictate the editorial output on Burgess Hill Uncovered and is a big factor in why there is no relationship between BHU and the town council. BHTC only want a glowing report of what they do, and if you don't comply, councillors and senior staff choose to make everything VERY difficult, which is at a huge detriment to the wider public.

For the record, senior members of Mid Sussex District Council have never tried to dictate to Burgess Hill Uncovered what can and cannot be reported - we have a good relationship, but maybe Cllr Anne Jones is now looking to replicate the lawlessness of Burgess Hill Town Council at Mid Sussex District Council?

Most galling of all with last night's encounter with Anne Jones, is that when I said I wasn't interested, she then said 'Oh well, it doesn't matter, it wasn't that important anyway' Arrrrrrrrrgh!!!!!!

As I departed the public gallery, I was sure to wish Cllr Jones the best of luck in the forthcoming elections.

What a stupid move Cllr Jones, VERY stupid.


Spread the word, a councillor disrupted BHU's work at a publc meeting and is trying to dictate what we report

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