I must apologise to the mayor, Richard Roden, for confusing him in my letter a couple of weeks ago with Cllr Terry Christopher, though I must say it’s easily done since he wears so many hats.

In the cosy world of Monmouth town council, not only is Roden the mayor (seconded by Cllr Mat Feakins, now deputy mayor) and as such chairs full-council meetings, but he is also deputy chair of the finance and policy committee (seconded by Feakins, who also happens to be chair of that committee) and as if that was not enough he is deputy chair of the environment committee (seconded again by Feakins).

There was a clue to expect a snaffling of nearly all the top posts by the Tories when, at the council’s annual meeting last May, they rather unusually all put their names down to be members of all the committees (the updated committee membership list was proposed and seconded by – you’ve guessed it – Feakins and Roden). That meant they could all vote in all the elections for the chairs and deputies.

However, when the time came to elect the chairman of the planning committee, the plan went a little astray as Roden was late, arriving just after the chair had been elected. He then stayed for just the next item of business, to elect a deputy chair, after which he and Feakins both immediately left the meeting – Feakins not to return to attend any of the subsequent five meetings of the planning committee until he resigned from it in September, but at least he had been able to cast a couple of useful votes when they were needed.

Roden, like Feakins, wears yet another hat, as he is also a county councillor. This practice, popularly known as dual-hatting, was condemned last year by the Welsh Government-commissioned Independent Panel Review on Town and Community Councils because “it can cause conflicts of interest, as well as constraining the democratic pool and causing confusion”.

Charles Boase (Monmouth)