Dowling admits he did not follow rules
The Mayor of St George has admitted he did not follow corporation rules after he took a controversial decision to reopen Water Street to traffic.
George Dowling III spoke out yesterday after Philip Seaman, a former St George’s business ratepayers’ councillor, resigned over the leadership style of the mayor and for personal reasons.
Mr Dowling said the protocol problem was raised at a public meeting of the corporation on August 22. But he insisted that Mr Seaman had agreed to the reopening of the street, although Mr Seaman said he had not.
Mr Dowling said: “I consulted with the committee that manages this area of Corporation of St George’s business. Most of the committee agreed including former councillor Seaman.”
But Mr Dowling added: “The protocol was not followed. The decision should have been brought to a general council meeting. The general council meeting is held once a month, where a vote is taken.
“This matter of protocol was addressed in the public meeting of August 22.”
Mr Dowling said: “A change in vision and management styles is sometimes difficult for people. I respect the views and opinions of people regardless of if the opinions are different.”
Mr Dowling added that he and Mr Seaman had “worked together successfully under mayor Quinell Francis without difficulty”.
He said: “I have such great respect for him and his contribution to the town.”
Water Street was reopened to traffic on July 22, but the vehicle ban was put back in place a day later by acting mayor Lloyd Van Putten.
Tania Stafford stepped down in protest at Mr Dowling’s decision later that month.
Mr Dowling was accused of a conflict of interest because reopening Water Street to traffic would provide easier access to his family business, Rubis Dowling’s Marine and Auto Service Station on Penno’s Drive.
But Mr Dowling said: “Please visit St George’s — you will see that there are several businesses on that street.
“Any small change impacts all the businesses, not just Dowling’s Marine, which is not on Water Street.
“The Corporation of St George considers this matter closed.”
Mr Seaman told The Royal Gazette last week that some members of the corporation had called for Mr Dowling’s resignation.
Mr Dowling did not respond to a request for comment.
An election to fill Mr Seaman’s seat will be held on November 21 at Penno’s Wharf cruise ship terminal.
Only business ratepayers will be eligible to vote.
Registration for the election will close on October 25 at 5pm.
• For more information, visit elections.gov.bm or phone 293-8683
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