JUST HOW CONSCIENTIOUS IS YOUR LOCAL PENARTH COUNCILLOR?

Penarrh Town Council's headquarters at West House on Stanwell Road

Penarrh Town Council’s headquarters at West House on Stanwell Road

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.

Penarth Town Council's official flag

Penarth Town Council’s official flag

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 .

  1. Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) 6 meetings missed
  2. Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) 7 meetings missed
  3. Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) 12 meetings missed
  4. Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)  21 meetings missed
  5. Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) 22 meetings missed
  6. Lis Burnett (Labour St Augustines) 28 meetings missed (Cllr Burnett resigned as a member of Penarth Planning Committee after the 2012/13 Council Year)
  7. Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) 33 meetings missed
  8. Phil Rapier (Labour St Augustines) 35 meetings missed
  9. Rhiannon Birch (Labour Cornerswell) 41 meetings missed
  10. Rosemary Cook (Labour St Augustines) 48 meetings missed
  11. Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward) 51 meetings missed
  12. Wendy van der Brom (Conservative Plymouth Ward) 56 meetings missed
  13. Janice Birch (Labour Stanwell) 58 meetings missed
  14. Tracey Alexander (Labour Cornerswell) 64 meetings missed
  15. Amber Courtney (Labour Stanwell) 99 meetings missed
  16. 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)  is Penarth's best attending councillor

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) is Penarth’s best attending councillor

tHE Mayor of Penarth Cllr Martin Turner today

The  Mayor of Penarth Cllr Martin Turner was runner-up

Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) Leader of Penarth Town Council came third

Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) Leader of Penarth Town Council came third

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

Amber Courtney

Amber Courtney

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

Cllr Ian Courtney (Labour Cornerswell) is Penarth Town Council's representative on the board of PACL

Cllr Ian Courtney (Labour Cornerswell) is Penarth Town Council’s representative on the board of PACL

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

About NewsNet

Penarth Daily News email address dmj@newsnet.uk . Penarth Daily News is an independent free on-line fair and balanced news service published by NewsNet Ltd covering the town of Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, UK. All our news items are based on the information we receive or discover at the time of publication and are published on the basis that they are accurate to the best of our knowledge and belief at that time. Comments posted on the site by commentators reflect their opinions and are not necessarily shared, endorsed or supported by Penarth Daily News.
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34 Responses to JUST HOW CONSCIENTIOUS IS YOUR LOCAL PENARTH COUNCILLOR?

  1. sjleworthy says:

    This explains a fair amount. If they’re not paid, then why have them? What exactly do they do and what legal powers do they posess, and what enthusiasm have they got? Whats the point?

    In all fairness to them and the Vale going over their heads, i can now understand. They’re only part time pretenders. No more influential than you or i.

    • Danny Oakentrode says:

      You are so far off the mark Steve that I am not going to let your comment go unchallenged. Some of our town councillors may not put in as much effort as others, but those at the top of this attendance list do so out of a sense of duty to Penarth. They are not paid for this, but they give freely of their time in the service of this town to try and make a difference. It is often a thankless task, but I want to go on record as offering my sincere thanks for what they do, and in particular, Neil Thomas, Martin Turner and Mike Cuddy for their devotion to this town.
      Some of the councillors on the town council wear two hats – serving on the Vale as well, and divide their time. But the three I have named do not get paid, and deserve a damn sight better acknowledgement than your flippant “if they’re not paid, then why have them?’ We have them because they have our interests at heart, and give their time to represent the concerns of Penarthians at every turn. They are often overruled, often maligned, and sometimes ridiculed. But I would much rather have them fighting our corner than have no one there to call upon when there are local issues that need attention.
      Your final sentence ‘no more influential than you or I’ is just plain daft. Of course they are more influential than you or I. They serve the town, discussing many issues to offer a measured collective opinion which is recorded, minuted for the future.
      On Remembrance Sunday, they attended as our representatives on their own time, and during various meetings to try and get the Town Place plan off the ground they listened and explained, all done with our future in mind. There are numerous other examples of the sheer time and effort that they have put in, and you have the nerve to criticise when the most you do for the town is chip in with comments on this site.
      Take it back, Steve. You were out of order, and you should admit it. You would not be prepared to do what these decent people do for Penarth, so you have no right to criticise them. The councillors who are set towards the top of this list deserve a lot better than your unfounded and needless criticism.

      • Hamish Munnypenny says:

        Criticising Penarth town councillors for the amount of meetings they miss is like pointing a gun at your foot and pulling the trigger. They should all be congratulated for the fact that every meeting they attend is a bonus, because they get nothing from the public purse to compensate them for the many hours they put in – not just in council and committee meetings, but in the time they spend with voters, dealing with niggling complaints and helping to iron out problems.
        This civic duty has been described as a thankless task, but I’d rather they didn’t think it is entirely thankless. There may have been a few thoughtless criticisms, but I suspect that most people are very glad that someone is prepared to do this, on their behalf, for the good of the local community, and without dipping into the pot.
        Steve Leworthy, do you really think the paid councillors of the Vale do a better job than the volunteer councillors of the Town council? Do you really imagine that what they do on behalf of the town is unnecessary? I believe that they are much more concerned with the affairs of Penarth than any of the Vale councillors who ride roughshod over almost anything that isn’t for Barry. We need these people to speak up for us, even if they are sometimes ignored. Penarth would be a much poorer place without them, and that should not be forgotten.

    • Keith Inker says:

      I disagree with this comment in its entirety. In offering their time voluntarily for the good of the town, the majority of our councillors place the concerns of Penarthians above those of the other residents of the Vale. The Vale councillors, who are paid, greatly outnumber our town councillors, and often overrule them because they are supported by Barry residents to look after their own residents.
      You are very badly mistaken to call them part-time pretenders when every hour that they spend conducting business on behalf of Penarthians is an hour more than you are prepared to give. I believe you should offer an apology.

      • Keith Inker says:

        End of paragraph one should read “supported by Barry residents to look after their own interests”.

    • Walter Walker-Pitt says:

      A rather spiteful and undeserved attack on decent, public-spirited individuals that cannot stand. Mr. Leworthy, this is very unfair and factually incorrect. Do you think paid councillors do a better job for us than the unpaid individuals on the list? The three councillors with the best attendance records do not get anything from public funds for the time they put in. They do it because they care about our town, and use the weight that they carry, as elected officials representing this town, to the benefit of townspeople.
      You may not see it that way, but I suspect that your view of things differs greatly from the majority of townspeople who are very grateful to support these individuals, regardless of any party affiliations, simply because they speak for US in Penarth.
      Shame on you, Mr. Leworthy. You do nothing for the town, yet you regard yourself as in a position to criticise those who do a great deal, for the love of the town, and not for personal gain. They deserve your praise, not your withering insults.
      I would add that I would like to see you put in the same time on behalf of the town, but I’m afraid your lack of judgement would rule you out as far as I’m concerned. Stick to criticism of those who do deserve it – the self-seeking councillors who want to run Penarth down for their political gain and selfish motives.

    • Lyndsay Doyle says:

      Steve, I don’t think you’re being very fair to the majority of these councillors, who do a wonderful job, much of it not particularly enjoyable, poring over planning applications and dealing with stroppy lobbyists. Admittedly, some of them will find it harder to drag themselves away from the TV on a cold, wet and windy evening, especially after a hard day at the office.
      However, there is one important, salient detail that you have overlooked – they all do a better job than you. Do you really think you’re as influential as a town councillor? You belittle them to flatter yourself. Do the walk before you do the talk.

    • Shirley Knott says:

      Councillor Sjleworthy, we expect your resignation on the desk in the morning. Oh, you’re not a councillor? Then who are you to criticise? If you are not offering your free time to serve this town then you really shouldn’t pick holes in those that do.
      “Part time pretenders”? I suppose if a St. John Ambulance volunteer saved you from choking, or if an RNLI crew member saved you from drowning, you would dismiss them as “part time pretenders”? Of course not! Our town council members are VOLUNTEERS, bringing a good deal of specialised knowledge and wisdom to the council chamber on behalf of the rest of us. You must apologise for your rudeness.

    • sjleworthy says:

      Perhaps my comments were a little harsh, for that i appologize, i certainly didnt aim my comments at any individual persons. Rather the whole concept. Why all those 10‘s of missed meetings? Im i missing a point? As mentioned, perhaps those nearer the second half of the list kinda more confuse me why they’re there than the top.
      As you can probably guess, my whole attitude to politics is rather low (and ignorant) and i certainly dont support any one party over the next. I realise Penarth is a Labour bashing society and has a healthy paranoia against Barry, and i wont argue this point be it true or not, even if there’s no love for VOG here.
      Do the Vale councilers not care for Penarth and Barry only? Well thats a political argument not worth gettig into.
      And dont worry, you’ll all be glad to know i certainly wont be ever standing, i’d never advocate for a second i could do an elected job, free or paid. My idea of a nightmare.

      • Wayne Coates says:

        I’d vote for yuo buddy – tho I won’t give you a 6pound cod like I gave that last consillor. Found it ponging up a skip behind the albion an he never canceled my pole tax areers.

      • Hamish Munnypenny says:

        I suppose this abject climbdown is as near as our town councillors will get to a sincere apology and recognition of their hard work, without remuneration, on behalf of us all in Penarth.
        There is an admission of ignorance in political matters, which begs the question why did you feel you were qualified to criticise when you were clearly unaware of the facts?
        The town councillors often set aside party allegiances in local matters, for the benefit of the town. And that’s it – town first, whenever and wherever possible for the majority of them.
        The twin-hatted councillors who sit on the Vale council, and are salaried, generally stand as candidates for the voluntary town council seats because there is a shortage of candidates. When you consider how they are viewed by those who are ignorant of the facts – regarding what they are paid for countless hours of voluntary effort (nothing), and unfounded and unwarranted criticism in place of gratitude, it is little wonder that few candidates are willing to serve.
        We need people willing to speak up for us. Imagine an unbridled Vale Council, dominated by Barry councillors, depriving Penarth to benefit their constituents. Yet we contribute a very healthy proportion of their income.
        Support your LOCAL councillors. Long live Penarth Town Council! Power to the people!

      • Danny Oakentrode says:

        Many Penarth town councillors have to be coerced into serving terms of office, and it’s easy to understand why most people stay clear of this onerous task if your appallingly ignorant and unfair view, and ridiculous expectations, are typical of townspeople.
        We get the councillors we have because they are prepared to put in long hours without any compensation, dealing with constant moans from constituents who cannot understand why they cannot abolish wintry weather and create Disneyland at the wave of a hand.
        We expect an awful lot from them, and few people ever show the least bit of gratitude.
        As you admit, Steve, you wouldn’t do this. Most people wouldn’t, so we should be thankful we have some excellent people who speak for us.

  2. It would be helpful if we could see how many meetings they attended out of how many they were supposed to attend, either as a ratio (or even a percentage – more work for the compiler though).

  3. sully road says:

    This information is pretty useless unless you put it into context….at the moment…..I’ve got no idea how many meetings there are per year?………you’ve clearly got time on your hands…..any chance Penarth News could come back with those figures for us? …..don’t forget to add on the additional meetings and duties that councillors undertake on a weekly basis, and could you possibly include figures for each councillor relating to the number of emails and phone calls they receive and make to constituents each week, and then the hours at home spent supporting and following up any issues they may have? Finally, if Penarth News could contact councillors personally and ask them their exact reasons for not attending specific meetings, you know, perhaps because they’ve had a Bereavement, or a family crisis, a funeral or an illness…..or maybe they may have been at another meeting, or at WORK or having just spent every single night out on council business for the last week, that was NOT meetings….and really (-as they are quite entitled to do) wasn’t feeling too well, so decided to stay home……I mean after all, they attend meetings all the time, without payment….why shouldn’t we know all the ins and outs of their personal lives too….? Sigh.

    It’s a thankless task, and articles like this do nothing to support them.

    • newsnetuk says:

      PDN’s only purpose is to put information in the public domain. The figures are the recorded absences from all council and council-committee meetings registered as having taken place over the period from May 2012 to October 2014. The total number of meetings was 124. It should also be noted that Cllr Lis Burnett resigned from Penarth Town Council’s Planning Committee after the 2012/2013 year.

  4. Big Dave says:

    I think that anyone named Courtney should go……

    • Fiona Redford says:

      To be replaced by whom, exactly? Some may have a limited attendance record, but there is never a great rush to fill these town council seats, and so we should be grateful to those who offer their services, especially when they have to find time AFTER a day’s full-time work, and measuring family demands with the need to recharge their batteries.
      Of course, they also have to go to other evening meetings, answer phone calls and letters from constituents, and do a certain amount of research and preparatory work, site visits, etc. All of this for …what? It’s easy to criticise, but there are very few people who would jump into their shoes if there was no financial incentive, no reward, and, judging by certain comments, no recognition or praise.
      We are very lucky to have the collected expertise and diligence of our Penarth Town councillors, and I would like to thank them all for what they do. It has not gone unnoticed by me, and I’m glad of an opportunity to thank them ALL for their efforts.

  5. John Jones says:

    The list is important information so we all need to thank PDN for producing it. Democracy requires information. Such information would never have appeared in The Penarth Times, I think, and it will certainly help many people to decide whom they should vote for and against.

  6. MrTea says:

    Thank you to PDN for the 124 total meeting figure. That was the context need.
    In response to the commenter who suggested that the gentleman behind PDN clearly has time on his hands. No one has time on their hands. I’m sure the gentleman concerned runs himself into the ground to publish PDN and I and know many others are extremely grateful for that effort.

  7. mjcorbett says:

    I’m certainly grateful to the “gentleman behind PDN” (GBP) because this information deserves to be published. As others have already observed, I think that GBP should have put this into perspective by publishing the number of total meetings (which he now seems to have corrected) and it would have been helpful to see attendance as a percentage e.g. Neil Thomas gets 95% attendance, Ian Courtney gets 18%. If Ian Courtney was a schoolboy he’d probably be expelled with such an attendance record.

  8. Sue says:

    I don’t care for all the rousing speeches here in defence of town councillors to whom we should apparently be terribly grateful. Why become a town councillor if you’re not going to turn up at the meetings – whether or not you are paid? All this talk from the likes of Danny Oakentrode and Hamish Munnypenny about how marvellously altruistic these unpaid councillors are…well hardly, if they don’t do anything. Added to which, some people enjoy the sound of their own voices and having a platform to spout nonsense is sometimes more than enough of a reward, especially if nobody else will listen to their bletherings….

    • Hamish Munnypenny says:

      Well then, are you going to stand as a candidate in the next town council election? You may have a chance to subject Penarthians to your ‘bletherings….’
      The whole point is that we desperately need candidates to do the job, and there are very few people who are willing to offer their services. Many of the town councillors have the time to spare, but some are begged to stand, even when they have limited spare time, simply because, otherwise, the seat would be vacant. That’s the reality.
      There are 16 councillors in total. I don’t know how many are required for a quorum, but I do know that whenever an incumbent decides they have had enough of the constant complaints, moans, insults and backstabbing – and that is from the electors, not the other councillors – there is a frenzied search by all the parties to press potential candidates into standing. We have a desperate shortage of willing and able candidates.
      If you would be prepared to stand as an independent (we haven’t had an independent for some time), I’m sure you would soon learn what a thankless task it is, and you have just made it clear that you are of the ‘ungrateful and apathetic’ camp.
      Again, it’s easier to do the talk than do the walk.

    • Danny Oakentrode says:

      I have a real problem with salaried Vale councillors standing for seats on the Town Council. I would sooner, in fact, that we had sixteen independents standing up for the town against the excesses and leanings of the Vale, dominated as it is by Barryites.
      Unfortunately, the only thing I can do to promote decisions made by Penarthians for the town is to vote. Without credible candidates I know I have very little chance to be heard.
      The alternative is to give up my leisure time and stand as an independent councillor – despite the fact that I hold a responsible job which takes up about 80 hours a week, work and travel.
      Many town councillors also work long hours, and have families, so I appreciate the limited time they can spare for council meetings, other committee meetings, constituency business, and the numerous unrecorded tasks that they undertake on behalf of electors.
      Once again, the point has gone sailing over several heads. If you think it’s easy, you do it. There is nothing stopping you, or anyone else, standing as independents.

      • newsnetuk says:

        In the 2012 Penarth Town Council elections the four wards had a combined total of 16 seats available for which 41 candidates stood for election. 25 therefore failed to be elected. 6 of the town-council candidates (5 Labour and 1 Conservative) also won – or retained – seats on the Vale of Glamorgan Council. The town-council candidate elected with the fewest votes was Amber Courtney with 599 in Stanwell. The highest-scoring loser was Evan Davies in Plymouth ward who polled 692.

      • Lyndsay Doyle says:

        Yes, but I know that many of these candidates were persuaded to stand, despite being unwilling in the first instance. Several were aware they had little chance of being elected, and a few had their fingers crossed that they would be outvoted.
        The main parties usually approach party members and invite them to put their names forward. Many are unwilling due to other commitments, but a few will agree on the understanding that work commitments will take priority and limit the time they have for council meetings and duties.
        Despite a heavy Labour presence, we have a Conservative town mayor (making a really good job of it, incidentally), because town councillors tend to be more interested in what is good for the town, rather than stringent adherence to national party policies. In general, the individuals get along on a personal level, and many of the meetings are relaxed, polite discussions.
        If there is any slavish demarcation along party lines it is the electorate that is responsible – which is why a less devoted individual from one party may get chosen above a dedicated individual from another.
        The only way to resolve this is for more people to come forward, to put forward their ideas and let the voters decide. So, who do we have?

    • Walter Walker-Pitt says:

      Sue, I’m astonished that you have missed the point, despite all the previous postings that mention the lack of candidates.
      We desperately need dedicated individuals to stand up to the Vale. However, we end up with the best people we can get.
      The councillors who attend most often are excellent people, putting in hours of their own time, but you should not be too scathing of the others unless you are willing to put your head above the parapet.
      It’s easy to criticise, but the best critics are the ones who know how difficult it is to do something well. So you are clearly a poor critic, and if you were prepared to put in hours of your time in the service of the town, for nothing but a stream of abuse, ridicule and moaning minnies, your criticism would carry some weight.

      • sjleworthy says:

        Before i start putting these peoples of wonder back up on the equal footing as st johns ambulance men and rnli staff, just because they dont take a wage, just remind me agian exactly what they do, have done and are doing for me, where the alternative ruling from the Vale would make my life a living missery? Perhaps their endevours should be wider published?
        Im still failing to grasp the love here, volenteer or not.

        Again, i’m not more a vale supporter than any other, but clearly everyone here hates them all. If all youre doing is standing against your enemy to make political digs then im not interested.

      • Walter Walker-Pitt says:

        As you are clearly clueless, I suggest you check the Penarth Town Council website first, then contact a local councillor and find out how it all works by being invited to attend a council session when possible.
        If you want someone to explain all these points to you then demand some of the time these councillors set aside to help people like you.
        You attacked them out of ignorance, but if the others defending the town councillors are anything like me, they have taken the time to learn, finding out for themselves, not expecting to be spoonfed, to find answers to their questions about how it all works. Most councillors will give up some of their time to explain what they do. You may, if you become more open-minded, begin to see the majority of town councillors as decent people prepared to work for our benefit.

      • sjleworthy says:

        Well, im still finding all this unconditional love hard to fathom. It’s almost like you have a family member part of the council or something.

      • Walter Walker-Pitt says:

        Steve, I am not related to any councillor, although I know a few socially. Secondly, there is no “unconditional” element in my respect for them, and thirdly, you still don’t get it, so try finding out how much they do standing up for Penarth against the dogma that rules the Vale council and you may start to get it.

  9. Sue says:

    @ Hamish. You seem very keen to put me forward as well as being full of talk yourself. Had you thought about standing? (Or is your impassioned defence of the town councillors not entirely unbiased?!)
    @ Danny and Walter. Lots of accusatory talk from you two about people missing the point. I’m sure the town council would welcome your superior intellects too.
    On a general note, I suspect the most depressing aspect for these councillors who don’t turn up at meetings is the general pointlessness of Penarth Town Council. There they are willing to give up their time and minds and yet the council appears to have no powers whatsoever. When it does represent the views of people here, it seems to be constantly overridden, nay humiliated, by that lot in Barry.
    Walter, I hardly think it’s ‘scathing’ to point out people shouldn’t bother getting elected if they’re not going to turn up at meetings. Talk about over-reacting.
    Danny, I haven’t said I think it’s ‘easy’ – far from it – and Hamish touches on the moaning and backstabbing and I agree with that. I don’t imagine Penarth would be a nice town to stand up for – too many people who think they know better…ha ha.

    • Hamish Munnypenny says:

      Once I retire, standing as a candidate might be an option. It’s impossible now. However, I’m pleased to see that you acknowledge that our councillors have to put up with unnecessary moans and criticisms.
      For the record, I do not belong to any political party, and always vote for the candidate, not along party lines. So, if I were to stand in the future it would be as an independent. (…And no, this is not a pitch in that direction, as I will maintain my anonymity in order to comment freely as I choose).
      On the subject of the purpose of the Town Council, it is true that they have limited powers and are often overruled. But without them, the only decisions regarding Penarth would be made on exclusively partisan lines – the Labour councillors against the rest. The town council tends to ignore these rigid divisions of political affiliation.
      They don’t know it, but I know personally about half of the town councillors at present, across the board politically, and I have a great deal of admiration for most of them for the efforts they make on behalf of the town. This is why I wanted to rush to their defence and support them. I know how hard they try to fight our corner up against the hard-nosed politicos of the Vale and the bureaucrats who work for them.
      If there were no Town Council, every decision taken on our behalf would be based on political advantage for one party over another, not on what is good for Penarth. It is imperative that we have people who speak for the town, often against the Vale, or every decision about the town will be made by unconcerned officials and rubber-stamped by salaried councillors who seem more concerned with self-aggrandisement than with any issue concerning my home town.

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