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West Berkshire councillors miss 18 per cent of district meetings between them



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Topping the chart for missing the most, in accordance with the meetings he should have attended, was Joe Mooney (Con, Birch Copse), who attended eight of his scheduled 15 meetings, equivalent to 47 per cent.
Halfway through the year, however, Mr Mooney resigned from his position as an executive member for adult social care for health reasons.
Close behind Mr Mooney was Billy Drummond (Greenham, Lib Dem), who attended five of his 10 scheduled meetings, followed by Mike Johnston (Con, St Johns) who attended eight of his 20 meetings.
The figures, available on West Berkshire Council’s website, show the number of meetings that each councillor was expected to attend as committee members, and how many they actually attended.
Present at all their meetings were Howard Bairstow (Con, Falkland), who had nine meetings, Carol Jackson-Doerge (Con, Burghfield), who had six, Tim Metcalfe (Con, Purley) who had 27 and James Podger (Con, Hungerford) who had three.
Quentin Webb (Con, Buckle-bury) missed one of his 48, Jeff Beck (Con, Clay Hill) missed one of 29, Geoff Mayes (Lib Dem, Mortimer) missed one of 33 and Manohar Gopal (Con, Calcot) missed one of 19.
Conservatives on average missed more meetings than their Liberal Democrat colleagues, with Tory councillors between them attending 780 of a possible 965 meetings in 2014, compared to a combined total of 246 of 290 attended by the Lib Dems.
Council leader Gordon Lundie (Con, Lambourn) attended 85 per cent of his 34 meetings. The leader of the West Berkshire Lib Dems, Jeff Brooks, (Thatcham West) attended 74 per cent of his 19.
Mr Lundie said: “Attendance at meetings doesn’t necessarily reflect the amount of work being done by members... you don’t see the work that goes on at a wider level. So much of what members do is not always in public.”
He added that often councillors, and in particular executive councillors, were unable to attend meetings as they clashed with other important committees at which they were required to represent West Berkshire Council, such as the Fire Authority and Royal Berkshire Hospital boards.
“They all have a lot of different roles,” he said. “I would expect every council member to make every effort to attend meetings of full council and management meetings.
“I would expect portfolio holders to have a good record of attendance. I would expect it to be at the three-quarters level.”



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