Council attendance records are released

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The majority of the area’s councillors recorded high levels of attendance at county, district and town council meetings in 2012/13.

Figures for council and committee meetings at Suffolk County Council between June 2012 and May 2013 show Sudbury councillor John Sayers attended all 16 meetings he was eligible for or voluntarily attended.

Former Hadleigh councillor David Grutchfield was at all 22 of his meetings, with Stour Valley’s James Finch not missing any of his 24.

Colin Spence, Sudbury east and Waldingfield councillor, missed one of 15 meetings, Great Cornard’s Peter Beer missed one of 24 and Melford’s Richard Kemp missed one of 17.

Mr Spence said: “I think it is really important. These meetings are part of the job. If you get elected, you have to do the job properly and that means you have to attend and listen to what other people are saying.”

The basic allowance paid to all Suffolk county councillors is £10,172 per year.

Mr Beer will be development control committee chairman for 2013/14, for which he will receive an additional £5,086. On Babergh District Council, Bryn Hurren, councillor for Boxford, and Leavenheath’s Jennie Jenkins had perfect attendance at their 16 and 25 respective meetings.

Mrs Jenkins was paid £7,783 as councillor and chairman of the strategy committee, the highest of any district representative in 2012/13.

Simon Barrett, Sudbury south councillor, and Peter Beer, Great Cornard south, missed just one each out of 20 and 25 meetings, while Hadleigh south’s Kathryn Grandon and Sudbury east’s Adrian Osborne missed two of their 25 and 29 meetings respectively.

Conversely, Neil MacMaster, councillor for Great Cornard north, had not attended any district council meetings, but was still paid £2,684.

Mr MacMaster said he had suffered kidney failure in March 2012 but was hoping to soon be allowed to carry out dialysis treatments at home, allowing him to attend meetings.

Nigel Bennett, Sudbury south councillor, made it to 50 per cent of his 20 meetings, while Long Melford’s John Nunn managed eight out of 15.

On Sudbury Town Council, Jan Osborne attended 93 per cent of her 44 meetings and Mr Bennett missed just five out of 54, an attendance of 91 per cent.

Oliver Forder was present at 22 out of 40 meetings, the worst rate on the council.

Ian Pointon, who has suffered with ill health, has been at 19 out of 34 meetings and Tony Platt has attended just 66 per cent of his 44 meetings.