Labour’s Peter McNamara is again the Three Towns’ most expensive councillor.
Official North Ayrshire Council figures for the last financial year (2011/2012) show Cllr McNamara took home a total of £23,862.19. Broken down, the total included a salary of £20,294.04 with the Ardrossan & Arran councillor claiming a further £3,568.15 in expenses.
NAC paid Cllr McNamara £663.40 in relation to phone and IT expenses. The Labour member claimed a further £1,396.24 for travel.
Over the past four years (2008/09 - 2011/12), Peter McNamara has pocketed £94,858 from the public purse - £80,681 in salary as the Council’s Communities spokesperson, and £14,177 in expenses.
Cllr McNamara’s Labour colleague Allan Munro was paid a staggering £930.43 by the Council to cover his phone and IT costs. Mr Munro, who represents Saltcoats & Stevenston, also claimed £494.09 for travel. Last year Cllr Munro submitted mileage claims for five separate meetings he did not attend. Controversially, an internal Council enquiry accepted the councillor’s explanation that the claims had resulted from a diary mix up.
The Three Towns’ least expensive councillor last year was Ardrossan & Arran SNP member Tony Gurney. As a backbencher at the time, Cllr Gurney was paid a salary of £16,233.96 and claimed a further £292.12 in expenses, giving a total of £16,526.08. Saltcoats & Stevenston Independent Ronnie McNicol was the next least-expensive councillor, claiming expenses of £502.94 on top of his salary of £16,233.96, giving a total of £16,736.90.
The Three Towns councillor who claimed the least amount of expenses last year was Ardrossan & Arran Independent John Hunter on £143.02. Cllr Hunter’s salary of £20,294.04 as chair of the local authority’s Scrutiny Committee took him above councillors Gurney and McNicol in the total figures.
The highest expenses claim of any councillor - £8,252.31 - was submitted by then Provost Pat McPhee who lost her seat at the election in May. Two SNP councillors, Matthew Brown (Irvine West) and Robert Rae (North Coast) claimed no expenses.