Dalry & West Kilbride councillor Elizabeth McLardy is already under pressure after being told by Council Chief Executive Elma Murray to ‘consider her position’ as Chair of the local authority’s Planning Committee after writing a letter to other councillors that appeared to ‘lobby’ for a change of use relating to land at Hunterston.
Now, Mrs McLardy is the latest North Ayrshire councillor to seek payment of public funds without providing details of meetings attended or approved duties carried-out. In only seven of her 331 individual mileage claims submitted in 2010/11 did Cllr McLardy list specific meetings she had attended. In most of the other claims, the Independent councillor recorded only the names of local towns, such as Irvine, Ardrossan, Largs and Kilwinning.
North Ayrshire Council’s Member’s Expenses Claim Form states councillors must “Clearly indicate which meeting you have attended or the relevant detail of the approved duty undertaken.” The form also warns elected members that the claim form will “provide the necessary documentation for HM Revenue & Customs and internal and external audit”. However, by listing only the names of towns – and no information relating to meetings attended or duties carried-out – it is not possible to verify the legitimacy of the majority of Cllr McLardy’s mileage claims, all of which were paid by the Council.
As previously reported by the3towns, similar claims were made by Labour councillors Peter McNamara and John Reid, while their party colleague Alan Munro submitted claims for five meetings he did not attend. Cllr Munro’s claims have been reported to Strathclyde Police.