“Minutes of the Consumables Procurement Committee on 18 December 2013,” by Emma Balmforth

Feb 19th, 2014 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose


  • Gordon Stoppard – Chairman (The Chairman)
  • Frank Jenkins – Facilities Management Officer and Deputy Chairman (FJ)
  • Marney Price – Treasurer (The Treasurer)
  • Colin Doughty – Administration Officer (CD)
  • Stanley Tweddle – Consumables Officer (ST)
  • Veronica Hare  – Facilities Support Officer (VH)
  • Secretary to the Working Group (Minute Taker)

Meeting opened 10:00 a.m.

The Chairman introduced the first agenda item, ‘The Increased Cost of Stationery.’ He drew attention to the fact that using more than one pen, mislaying pens, vandalising pens through chewing, and opening new boxes of pens before it was necessary was resulting in an increased cost to the business.

FJ explained that although he acknowledged that the use and misuse of pens was an issue, the Committee should also consider the use and misuse of staples and staplers, paper, particularly photocopying paper that everyone thought they had a right to, and pencils.

There was general discussion on stationery use. FJ proposed that there should be a list of all the items in the cupboard, which each member of staff must sign when they removed an item. He added that the list could be reviewed at each Committee meeting.

At this point, the meeting was interrupted as VH started to grow a pair of elephant ears. The Chairman asked her to stop as it was causing an unnecessary disturbance. VH apologised.

The Chairman asked everyone if they agreed with the proposal. Five members voted yes and VH trumpeted, having grown an elephant’s trunk. There was some discussion about whether this could be recorded as a supporting vote. The Secretary pointed out that as it was not possible to determine the intention, the vote should be recorded as abstaining. The proposal was agreed. VH trumpeted.

The Chairman moved the Committee to the next item on the agenda, ‘The Ordering of Stationery’. The Chairman explained to Members that he would like their views on whether the current process for ordering stationery was efficient.

VH grew an elephant’s tail. The Treasurer commented that she did not realise that elephants had tails and informed the Committee of the time when, as a child, she went to the zoo and dropped her ice cream in the lions’ enclosure, highlighting the fact the lions like Cornish Vanilla.

The Chairman thanked her for her comments. VH trumpeted.

There was general discussion about the process for ordering stationery. FJ remarked that the process was very simple and consequently anyone could order stationery.

The Treasurer asked to move because VH was now a full sized elephant and was, therefore, taking up a significant amount of room. The Chairman agreed.

FJ proposed that every member of staff should be required to fill in a GC3/04a form, to be signed by a senior manager and sent to the Committee to consider five clear working days before the stationery order needed to be placed. This was seconded by ST.

In response to the elephant, formerly VH, taking all the biscuits, the Chairman asked the Secretary whether there were any rules about animals in Committee meetings. The Secretary confirmed there were no rules that explicitly excluded animals from sitting in or participating in meetings if that was the wish of the animal.

The Chairman thanked the Secretary and asked the Committee for their views on FJ’s proposal that all staff should complete a GC3/04a form.

CD commented that it was important for there to be three copies of each form and that an appropriate filing system would need to be established.  The Chairman suggested that filing could be considered under ‘Any Other Business’ at the end of the meeting.

The Chairman asked whether triplicate copies of the form would be adequate.

At this point the elephant, formerly VH, left the meeting table and stamped on the Chairman. ST proposed that, in light of the Chairman being indisposed, FJ act as Deputy Chairman and lead the Committee. The Secretary took this to a vote and the proposal was agreed four votes in favour. The elephant trumpeted loudly and galloped towards the window, through which it jumped, landing on a number of cars in the car park below. It was last seen running towards the cafeteria.

The Deputy Chairman noted that without the Chairman or the elephant the Committee was two Members short and therefore in quorate. He suggested that the meeting be deferred until the following week, when new Committee members would be available.

This was agreed.

Meeting closed 12:00 p.m.


Defenestration-Generic Female 03Emma Balmforth lives in England with her family and her dog, Larry. As she has not yet written a bestseller (or anything over 5 pages), she works at the Council, where she spends most of her time trying to look busy while secretly reading the Internet.

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