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Brighton and Hove City councillors criticised for poor attendances
1:00pm Wednesday 14th August 2013 in News
Councillors have been accused of insulting their constituents through poor attendance at council meetings.
Councillor Alex Philips, member for Goldsmid, had the worst attendance record, turning out for just 62% of meetings.
Green councillor Ben Duncan had the second-worst record at 68%.
Liberal Democrat campaigner Jeremy Gale, who compiled the research, said: “The attendance figures for some councillors are deplorable. For Coun Phillips to attend just 62% of her scheduled meetings is an insult to the people living in her ward.
“If the hard-working taxpayer was to show up for work just three days out of their scheduled five-day week they would, at best, expect to face disciplinary action, if not to lose their job entirely.”
Coun Duncan said: “As a single father with childcare responsibilities I wasn’t always able to be in two places at once.
“Whenever I couldn’t attend the formal meetings however, I always arranged for a substitute to attend on my behalf, as per the council’s own rules.”
Coun Bob Carden, Labour member for North Portslade had an 83% record – and never missed a full council meeting in 29 years.
He said: “I did have some time off over the last year as my wife passed away, and I had a knee replacement making it hard to get around.
“There are planning meetings two or three times a week and a lot more work goes on behind the scenes.”
Coun Ruth Buckley, Green member for Goldsmid, kept up an 83% record despite having two nursery-aged children.
She said: “Council meetings are not held at family-friendly times, which is something I’d love to change.
“Times suited to a wide variety of the city’s residents would help achieve a more diverse range of councillors who would be truly representative of the population.”
Coun Christina Summers, Independent member for Hollingdean and Stanmer Ward, who has an 83% record, said: “I would like to emphasise that committee attendance is only half the picture. When councillors are unable to attend meetings, usually for good reason, they normally arrange for a substitute.”
Councillors Lizzie Deane, Jeane Lepper, Mary Mears, and Bill Randall all boasted 100% records, while Ania Kitcat (78%), Jayne Bennett (76%), Ian Davey (76%) and Amy Kennedy (75%) were in the bottom six.
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