‘It’s inappropriate’ - Councillor accused of falling asleep during meeting
- Credit: Archant
A row has broken out over claims a councillor “cast shame” on his authority after appearing to fall asleep in a livestreamed meeting.
Nigel Pearce, a Conservative member of North Norfolk District Council, was accused of being “fast asleep” in a scrutiny meeting held on Wednesday, November 11.
During the meeting, the Liberal Democrat councillor Nigel Lloyd described Mr Pearce’s apparent inattention as “inappropriate”.
But afterwards, the former Lib Dem denied the claim he was asleep and said he was listening in as an observer while working.
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Mr Pearce, who left the Lib Dem group after apologising for calling a female colleague “you bitch” during a livestreamed meeting said he had formally complained about Mr Lloyd’s allegations.
During a discussion on the new Serco waste contract, Mr Pearce appeared to have his eyes closed.
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Mr Lloyd said: “I just think it’s inappropriate for somebody on a livestream to be fast asleep and it casts shame on this council.
“If you look around the screens you’ll know exactly who I’m talking about. It brings the council’s activities in a bad light.”
Scrutiny chairman Nigel Dixon said he “couldn’t see what it was you were referring to but I assume it’s been dealt with”.
But chief executive Steve Blatch said the meeting should continue. and Mr Pearce later appeared to vanish from the meeting stream.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Pearce said Mr Lloyd’s comments were “totally unjustified, totally unrequired and unwarranted”.
He said he was not asleep and added: “I was an observer. I am not a member of the committee. I was working at the same time.
“I was fully aware of what was going on and I was just about to ask a question. The fact I was looking away from the screen may have been where he got the wrong conception from.”
He said he had complained “through the official channels” and added: “I also think it was completely lacking in respect and political point scoring.”
And Mr Lloyd said: “He has a right to put in a complaint. I just felt in a public meeting it was undignified and made us look bad.
“If he says he was working at the same time I’m not going to challenge that - but people can judge for themselves.
“I was concerned that he was unwell and an officer contacted him after the meeting.
“I’m glad he’s fit and healthy but if he was unwell he should have excused himself.”