‘We’re not paid to be town councillors’
Caistor town councillors reacted last night over reports about attendance at their planning meetings.
One councillor has been disqualified for non-attendance at council meetings, it was announced last night (Thursday, February 12, 2015)
The councillors also decided to issue a public response to the media, highlighting that their council work is unpaid and does not only involve going to the main council meeting once a month.
All of the councillors were present at last night’s meeting, except Kate Galligan, who was named by Mayor Steve Millson as the disqualified councillor, and two others who gave reasons for their absence. Ms Galligan was automatically disqualified for missing six consecutive council meetings, said the Mayor.
However, not all of the councillors were present for the planning meeting, which took place before the full council meeting.
Opening a discussion, Cllr Carol MacKenzie asked during the agenda item on correspondence whether the council should make some response to a report by a local person and also a letter in the Market Rasen Mail.
Cllr John Burns-Salmond said he could not personally remember saying some comments attributed to him.
“A lot of people attend meetings in the day,” said Cllr Alan Caine. “It is not just, ‘I am a councillor tonight’.”
“I was one of the councillors mentioned and I do my best to attend when possible,” said Cllr Juliet Savage. “Sometimes it is more a case of quality rather than quantity, but it is for the electorate to decide.”
“There are things that go on outside of this room,” added Cllr Martin Sizer. “The fact of the matter is we all do this on a voluntary basis. I feel guilty sometimes not being able to attend all the meetings, but it does not mean we don’t care about Caistor.”
“I was going to reply, but I would rather not,” said Cllr Rick Sandham. “I have been working on projects to bring people into the town. I don’t think we have to defend ourselves as a council. It would be nice to prick someone’s conscience, but I think we should acknowledge that we have read the remarks and move on.”
Some councillors thought it was better to make a response.
“It’s very important for us to get over to people that this is entirely voluntary,” said Cllr Savage. “It is not for our self edification and delight. We do it for Caistor.”
“I would respond on behalf of the people mentioned about how unfair it is to single councillors out,” said Cllr Jean Mumby.
“We have to reiterate the fact that none of us are paid,” added Cllr Deborah Barker. “People say, ‘well you must be earning a fair whack out of the council’, but we all do it at cost. There is only one person who is paid and that is our clerk.”
The council agreed to send a short response to the Market Rasen Mail and other forms of media.