It's dark outside and we still have five candidates to interview!
I am starting to get "local government cabin fever" as I provide support, advice, guidance as well as tea, coffee, biscuits (and occasionally sympathy) for the 18th Local Government Interview & Selection Meeting in the last four weeks. Tonight's meeting (TW Association this time) is the fifth in succession, including all day Sunday. Between the four Associations going through the process (with four different LG Committees) we have interviewed and approved (or not) over 150 new and incumbent candidates.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. Tonight's session is the last of the "conveyor belt"
re-approval meetings with candidates appearing at 30 minute intervals. We now enter the "ward specific" selections; the overwhelming majority of which will be will be nem con. However I am currently putting in place procedures for "all member selection meetings" in several wards with in some cases up to nine applicants standing.
Yes - booking halls, sending out invitations and CVs and co-ordinating all the paperwork is time consuming and tedious, but what a joy to have keen, enthusiastic people jostling for position rather than having to scrape around on the eve of nomination day looking for unwilling volunteers.
Well done to all our Local Government Committees (between them 35 members) who have given up their time voluntarily and spent long hot evenings sitting around tables talking about campaigning time-sheets, community involvement and council participation. It's a thankless and totally un-glamorous job but a vital part of the democratic process.
And here is the Tunbridge Wells Local Government Committee in fine form tonight!