It’s emerged that some of Penarth’s sixteen town councillors are failing to turn-up at more than half the scheduled meetings and committee meetings of Penarth Town Council .
The figures have come to light in an analysis of an official register kept on the attendance of Penarth Town Councillors at council meetings and at council committee meetings.
Unlike Vale of Glamorgan Councillors, Penarth Town Councillors receive no salaries – so their attendance and participation in council meetings is purely voluntary – something which, of course, they would have known before standing for election.
In most cases councillors have good reasons to be absent, perhaps through illness, clashes with other commitments or holidays – although there are normally no meetings held during August. The council’s official register of attendance does not indicate whether there was a specific reason for their absence ( however justifiable that reason might have been) it just records the plain fact that they weren’t there.
Local-government law dictates councillors can be struck-off if they fail to attend a minimum at least one meeting in any six month period . Anyone failing that criterion would lose their seat on the council.
Below is a ranked table of all 16 Penarth Town Councillors based on the number of full-council or council-committee meetings which they’re recorded as having missed since May 2012 based on data from the Town Clerk’s official register .
- Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) 6 meetings missed
- Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) 7 meetings missed
- Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) 12 meetings missed
- Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) 21 meetings missed
- Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) 22 meetings missed
- Lis Burnett (Labour St Augustines) 28 meetings missed (Cllr Burnett resigned as a member of Penarth Planning Committee after the 2012/13 Council Year)
- Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) 33 meetings missed
- Phil Rapier (Labour St Augustines) 35 meetings missed
- Rhiannon Birch (Labour Cornerswell) 41 meetings missed
- Rosemary Cook (Labour St Augustines) 48 meetings missed
- Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward) 51 meetings missed
- Wendy van der Brom (Conservative Plymouth Ward) 56 meetings missed
- Janice Birch (Labour Stanwell) 58 meetings missed
- Tracey Alexander (Labour Cornerswell) 64 meetings missed
- Amber Courtney (Labour Stanwell) 99 meetings missed
- Ian Courtney (Labour Cornerswell) 101 meetings missed
The total number of meetings registered as taking place during the period was 124.
THE TOP THREE
Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) emerges as Penarth’s most assiduous councillor – closely followed by current Mayor Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) . In third place is the Leader of Penarth Town Council Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines).
FOOT OF THE TABLE
At the other end of the rankings is Cllr Amber Courtney (Labour Stanwell) who works full time for the public services union UNISON Wales as its Communications Officer. She says on her Twitter entry that she is a “Labour Party Member, Penarth Town Councillor, bookworm, and running and cycling enthusiast”.
- In 2012/13 the Leisure and Amenities Committee held 5 meetings but Cllr Amber Courtney (Labour Stanwell) didn’t turn up at any of them . She also failed to attend any of the 9 meetings of the important Policy and Finance Committee that same year.
- In 2013/14 Cllr Amber Courtney also failed to put in an appearance at any of the 7 meetings of the Leisure and Amenities Committee, did not attend 22 of the 25 meetings of the Planning and Transportation Committee and her seat was also empty in 9 of the 11 meetings of the Policy and Finance committee that same year .
- This year (2014/15) Cllr Amber Courtney has attended only 1 of the 11 meetings of the Planning and Transportation Committee, none of the meetings of the Leisure and Amenities Committee, and none of the meetings of the Policy and Finance Committee.
Since she was elected in May 2012 Cllr Amber Courtney has failed to turn up at 99 meetings
At the bottom of the table is Cllr Ian Courtney (Labour Cornerswell) who is a Director of the Charity Bank and is Penarth Town Council’s representative on the board of trustees of Penarth Pier Pavilion.
- In 2012/13 he attended no meetings of the Town Twinning Committee, missed 6 of the 9 meetings of the Policy and Finance Committee , attended only 1 of the 15 meetings of the Planning Committee and attended only 3 of the 9 Full Council meetings held that year.
- In 2013/14 he missed 7 of the 11 Full Council meetings, missed 20 of the 25 Planning meetings and missed 9 of the 11 Policy Committee meetings.
- In 2014/15 to date he has missed 4 out of 6 Full Council meetings, 10 out of 11 Planning Meetings, and every Policy and Finance meeting.
Penath Town Council records indicate he has missed 101 meetings since 2012