The Tynwald Commissioner for Administration has ruled Ramsey Commissioners taking too long to reply to a complaint as ‘maladministration’.

It was lodged about the conduct of board members during a debate on a proposal by a local business to paint a lamppost outside its shop in August last year.

In the report, Paul Beckett said the complaint to Ramsey Commissioners was made on August 20 last year, four days after the local authority’s general board meeting.

The complainant, Mr Higgins, the husband of the shop owner involved in the debate, wrote in his complaint there was ‘deliberate disrespect’ shown during the meeting last August.

He also said the ‘citizens of Ramsey deserve far better’ than the debate which happened during the meeting.

Mr Beckett confirmed the phrases which have been complained about are ‘I have never heard of such a ridiculous thing in all of my life’ and ‘If it’s painted in normal colours, not flowers and crap all over it’.

In response Ramsey’s Town Clerk said the matter will be looked into.

However, by January 2 no ‘substantive’ response had been sent to Mr Higgins and the Tynwald Commissioner for Administration asked the clerk for the meeting minutes, a link to the livestream and the authority’s complaints policy.

These were sent back to Mr Beckett on January 12.

On the same day, the clerk provided the TCA and Mr Higgins a response which said live streaming means more people see the board meetings ‘warts and all’.

It also said the meeting was not the best, but it ‘flowed’ and had ‘clear debate’ and a vote was taken on the proposal.

Mr Higgins replied on February 6 and said he ‘completely sympathises’ with the challenge faced in managing a meeting with ‘diverse personalities’.

But the code of conduct should ensure that interactions ‘remain respectful and productive’ despite these challenges.

The TCA concluded that ‘no loss’ had been suffered as a result of the debate but the commissioners’ complaints policy has not been complied with.

Mr Beckett added the reply sent on January 12 was ‘general’ and didn’t address a number of issues which left ‘reasonable questions’ unanswered – and this amounted to ‘maladministration’.

By local democracy reporter Emma Draper