Friday, 7 February 2014

Labour councillors' poor attendance

An investigation by the3towns has revealed that some Labour councillors often fail to attend committee meetings of North Ayrshire Council.

Councillors are paid a basic salary of £16,234 and receive expenses to assist them in carrying out their duties. However, three Labour councillors in particular have a poor record of attendance at meetings held to discuss issues of importance to local people.

The worst 'offender' is former Labour MSP Irene Oldfather, now a councillor for Irvine East. All councillors are members of the Local Development Plan Committee, which considers a wide range of issues relating to the future of North Ayrshire. However, Cllr Oldfather has failed to attend four of the five meetings held by the Committee in the past year.

In addition, Mrs Oldfather has missed 65% of meetings held by the Appeals Committee, which meets to consider appeals made by Council staff in relation to disciplinary matters. The Labour councillor has also been marked absent from 67% of meetings held by the Police, Fire & Rescue Committee.

Also with a poor record of attendance are Saltcoats & Stevenston Labour councillor Jim Montgomerie and his party colleague Joe Cullinane (Kilwinning). Councillors Montgomerie and Cullinane recently failed to turn-up for a meeting of the Council’s Scrutiny Committee, despite having tabled a Motion to be heard that day.

Cllr Montgomerie has missed 71% of meetings held by the Ardrossan & Arran, Saltcoats & Stevenston Area Committee, which takes decisions affecting local residents in the Three Towns. In addition, Cllr Montgomerie was absent from 43% of Local Review Body meetings and 60% of Local Development Plan Committees.

Joe Cullinane has missed 10 of 19 meetings held by the Planning Committee and was absent from 60% of Local Development Plan Committees.

Following a request by Independent councillors Ronnie McNicol and John Hunter, North Ayrshire Council now publishes the attendance records of councillors.

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