Good cash return for the absent councillors
POOR attendance means that some councillors are raking in more than £1,600 for every council meeting they attend. Some have only been to six meetings since last May. When that is divided by their annual £9,810 allowance, it works out at £1,635 a time. The
POOR attendance means that some councillors are raking in more than £1,600 for every council meeting they attend.
Some have only been to six meetings since last May. When that is divided by their annual £9,810 allowance, it works out at £1,635 a time.
The situation has got so bad that the council's Remuneration Panel is looking at steps to recoup part of the allowance from persistent absentees.
The panel has asked officers to look at the legality of imposing a 'claw-back' system during the 2009/10 council year.
Figures obtained by the POST show that the worst non-attendee was Jamie Jarvis, BNP member for Village ward.
Of 27 meetings he was required to attend he showed up for just seven - a ratio of 26 per cent, and a payout of £1,401 per meeting.
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Cllr Jarvis was not available for comment when the Post tried to contact him.
BNP members, Ronald Doncaster and Darren Tuffs, both Parsloes Ward, and Tracey Lansdown, Goresbrook, all attended only six meetings over the year.
Cllr Tuffs told the POST: "A lot of the reason is that I run my own business, and don't always know what I'm going to be doing during the day.
"I would have to apologise to my constituents. I do try and get to the meetings, but various circumstances stop me.
"I go to my surgeries every month; I never miss one of those. And when I get queries I sort them out."
Cllr Lansdown said she had been unable to attend meetings because of a serious illness to a close family member.
There are eight councillors who attended less than 50 per cent of their meetings.
But this includes Valence Ward Labour councillor, Don Hemmett, who was hospitalised for nine weeks after suffering a severe stroke.
Sandra Doncaster, BNP for Valence, attended eight meetings, a ratio of 44 per cent; while the BNP's candidate for Mayor, Christine Knight, Mayesbrook, went to 13, a ratio of 45 per cent.
Jeffrey Steed, BNP for Eastbury, attended 21 meetings, which works out at 44 per cent.
He said: "It's down to work commitments. I work on the railways, and I'm on nights at the moment. It's not stopped me from doing the work that needs to be done in the community."
Bob Little, Labour for Eastbrook and member of the Executive, attended 20 meetings, a ratio of 49 per cent.
He said: "I've got a very big executive portfolio, and I'm also chairman of the Broadway Theatre. I do a minimum of three meetings a week, which do not show up on the figures."
Cllr Richard Barnbrook, leader of the BNP group, told last week's annual Assembly that he accepted responsibility for his councillors who failed to make the 50 per cent target:
"I appreciate that my own councillors don't have great attendance" he said.