The leader of Blackpool Conservatives says councillors must be judged by the work that they do, and not by the amount of time spent in ‘talking shop’ meetings.
Tony Williams’ claims come in response to fellow Conservative Maxine Callow’s warning that there is ‘no excuse’ for the number of Town Hall meetings being missed by some councillors.
Coun Williams, (pictured) who attended all council meetings in the last 12 months, said: “A councillor’s job entails far more than attending sometimes pointless, non-productive meetings at the Town Hall. Many additional meetings are held with council officers in regard to problems in their wards and they are also requested to attend various training and information meetings.
“Some councillors will also attend meetings they are not officially required to attend when the subject matter in that meeting may affect issues in their own wards, such as planning and licensing.
“When critical events occur such as flooding or unexpected road closures etc councillors will have to spend a great deal of time in meetings discussing these issues.
“There are also councillor surgeries, ward meetings, association meetings, residents’ meetings local social club support and a plethora of resident’s issues that must be addressed.
“It could be argued that a councillor who has the time to attend every statutory meeting in the Town Hall isn’t spending enough time doing the real work on their ward and too much time in long drawn out meetings that end up being talking shops.
“It’s interesting to see that my own statutory number of meetings is 11 per year when I actually sometimes attend more than that in a week.
“Local councillors are elected and remunerated to serve the people who vote for them which means practical and actual work on the ward dealing with current problems that can’t be solved in a meeting about equality and diversity, just one of the many types of meetings held.
“Judge your ward councillor on what they do for you and your neighbours on the ward you live and their practical work towards delivering a better Blackpool, not on how many free cups of hot chocolate they drink in the Town Hall.”