The usual quiet and peaceful meeting of the Bathurst P.P. Board was disturbed this morning by Mr, J. J. Sullivan, who brought the stock inspector (Mr. C. R. Brett) to book over what Mr. Sullivan termed "neglect of duty," and incidentally censured the chairman for not seeing that the stock inspector's duties were carried out properly.
When Mr. Brett had read his usual report, Mr. Sullivan said he wanted to have a word or two. He stated that he was not going to be made a laughing stock of by anyone. He had spoken before about the inspector not carrying out his instructions, and the chairman had promised to see that Mr. Brett carried them out. Mr. Brett's report was nearly always the same. Two days in the office a month were quite enough, and he should be out in the country attending to quarantining and other matters the rest of the time. There was too much time credited to office work. The chairman had promised four or five months ago that certain things would be attended to.
The chairman : In what way ?
Mr. Sullivan: With regard to rabbits.
The chairman : Am I to be blamed for it personally?
Mr. Sullivan : Yes. if you don't see that Mr. Brett carries it out.
The chairman : You are a perfect wonder!
Mr. Sullivan : I don't know.
The chairman : I can wind you up in no time (the chairman giving an example of winding on his fingers).
Mr. Sullivan : You cannot.
The chairman: Am I solely responsible for the inspector's reports?
Mr. Sullivan : Yes, you are, as chairman.
The chairman : Am I to be saddled with all the blame?
Mr. Sullivan : Yes.
The chairman : I won't stand it.
Mr. Sullivan : You will have to stand it.
The chairman : I want the members of the Board to endorse what you say or otherwise.
Mr. Sullivan : I mean what I say.
The chairman : Everything I do, I do straight forward.
Mr. Sullivan : I am not making any accusation against you.
The chairman : You have made an accusation that I have not done my duty. If the members of the Board endorse what you say, I will vacate this chair in less than two minutes. I appeal to the members of the Board to vindicate me against those accusations.
Mr. Brownlow : I am sorry this unpleasantness has come about. If the inspector has not done his duty, we all, as members of the Board, are responsible, and not the chairman individually. I might say that I am not satisfied with the inspector's report at times. If the inspector is not doing his duty, it is for us to get up and say so, and the chairman has the liberty to move a vote of censure on the inspector. The chairman is not to blame. If the chairman gives instructions to the stock inspector and he does not carry out those instructions, it is for the chairman to report to the Board. I am here to bear my share of the responsibility, just as much as the chairman. We have given the inspector instructions to carry out certain work, and it has been delayed for too long.
Mr. Kerr : Is there anything the stock inspector was asked to do that he has not done? The stock inspector might go about in the district a bit more at times. I don't think the chairman should be blamed for the whole thing. It is a matter for the whole of the director. If the stock inspector has been told to do certain things and he could not give reasons why they had not been done, then we can deal with it.
Mr. Brownlow : The stock inspector's duty is not in the office.
Mr. Wallace : What about his daily correspondence? If the office work is confined to two days, he will have to attend to it on the last two days of the month. He has correspondence to attend to daily.
The chairman : I am in this position that I have been censured, and I want your opinion and vote about it.
Mr. Wallace : I move a vote of confidence in our chairman.
Mr. Brown: I second it.
Mr. Sullivan: I rise to a point of order. That is not the discussion before the meeting.
The chairman : I am prepared to listen to you. I thought you had finished.
Mr. Sullivan: I am not moving a vote of censure. You promised us here that you would see that the inspector did his duty.
The chairman : How do you know that I have not given the inspector instructions?
Mr. Sullivan: I am in the office nearly every day.
The chairman : Yes, you are—go on.
Mr. Sullivan : And Mr. Brett is not in the office when he says he is.
Mr. Brett: That is absolutely incorrect.
Mr. Sullivan : It is not. At last meeting you said you were in the office three days, and you were not there at all on those days. I didn't say anything about it before because I thought you might have been sick. I was in the office morning and evening, and you were not there.
Mr. Brett : The days can be looked up.
Mr. Sullivan : I want the Inspector to be out in the country as Mr. Brownlow said. There is nothing in the daily correspondence that would not wait till he returned. The correspondence from the chief inspector is to be attended to, but the other correspondence is not very important.
The chairman : You are always in the office. I live four miles away, and the majority of the chairmen live further away from their offices. Some live forty miles, some twenty, and some thirty. They seldom ever go to the office once between the meetings. They trust to their men, and they seem to get along alright.
Mr. Sullivan : I will ask the chief inspector for a copy of Mr. Brett's work for the past six months.
The chairman : You can do that, if you like. Mr. Sullivan (to Mr Brett) : Did you send on your shearing reports and the lambing reports last year?
Mr. Brett : No. There was no provision made for postage. The secretary objected, as he considered it affected him.
Mr. Sullivan : Ugh ! Where was his time at the office? We never heard anything about those reports not being sent.
The chairman : I am as cool as a cucumber. I am listening to it all. I am not annoyed.
Mr. Sullivan : I didn't think you were ever annoyed.
The chairman : I want the other members of the Board to endorse, or otherwise, what you have said. If I am guilty of what you say, I would he recreant to my duties as chairman, life would not be worth living, and I would want hitting on the head. (Laughter.)
Mr. Brown : The inspector's duties are similar day in and day out. There is so much similarity in his work, consequently there must be a similarity in his reports.
Mr. Brett : Certainly. What more can I say. It is similar work each day.
Mr. Sullivan at this stage took up the inspector's report, and after perusing it for a few minutes, remarked, "There, about rabbits, he says 'See Mr. Lynch's report.' That should not be allowed."
The chairman : Mind you, you are up against a tough proposition in me.
Mr. Sullivan : That is no report on rabbits, and he is a rabbit inspector.
The chairman : Yes, and the next?
Mr. Sullivan : He has not been out in the country enough.
The chairman : Yes; if you were in the chair you would ride him to death.
Mr. Sullivan : Every man I have employed came back to me.
The chairman : If you had contemplated this for the past two weeks you could not have done it more effectively. You have moved a vote of censure on me.
Mr. Sullivan : I have not.
The chairman : You have, and I feel it, although I don't show it.
Mr. Sullivan : If you think so, I never intended it. I don't want the inspector to come here and tell the Board that he is in the office. He might go into the office and write one letter. His duty is in the country.
The chairman : And what is your duty?
Mr. Sullivan : What, as a member of the Board?
The chairman : Yes. Mr. Sullivan : To see that he carries out his work.
The chairman then put the motion (embodying a vote of confidence) to the meeting, and it was carried.
The next business was then proceeded with.