Welwyn Hatfield councillors' attendances exposed

THE best and worst attendance records of Welwyn Hatfield s councillors have been exposed. The first indication of your representatives commitment has been released, after last year s full round of elections. Top and bottom of the list are new councillor

THE best and worst attendance records of Welwyn Hatfield's councillors have been exposed.

The first indication of your representatives' commitment has been released, after last year's full round of elections.

Top and bottom of the list are new councillors - elected for the first time in May 2008.

* Present at just five meetings was Hollybush's Tory representative Sarah Atkinson - less than half of the 12 attended by Paul Smith, who was forced to stand down for his no-show record.

* Labour's Mike Alder for Hatfield Central had a low percentage of 53, attending nine from a possible 17.

* New Tory councillors Howard Hughes and Fiona Thomson racked up 100 per cent, attending 19 and 24 meetings respectively with Louise Lotz, for the Lib Dems attending 24 (96 per cent).

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Councillor percentages equate to the amount of meetings they are expected to attend, including any committees they sit on.

Cllr Atkinson, whose husband, fellow borough councillor Nick, was kicked off Hatfield Town Council in 2007 for failing to attend meetings for six months, defended her record.

She said: "I'm a borough and town councillor, a full-time working mother of two small children and I attend when I can."

However, when asked why she stood if she was unable to make the commitment, she said: "I think I do what I can."

Cllr Lotz told the WHT: "If she was so busy why did she stand for election? I don't believe that is a suitable excuse.

"People want to be careful voting Tory, is the person going to stay the course and do the work?

"I'm glad the statistics get published."

Cllr Thomson, for Handside, said: "The workload is more than you would anticipate, it's a difficult juggling act."

Cllr Alder added his percentage was low because he was assigned to a committee he could not attend due to work commitments.

Tory leader John Dean, Labour deputy leader Steve Roberts, then deputy mayor Kim Langley and all three Berry family members - Clare, Doug and Hannah - notched up 100 per cent records.

Tory Jon Beckerman, for Sherrards ward, attended the most meetings at 42.

Councillors receive a basic allowance of �4,758; with some able to claim more for committee roles.

*What do you think about councillors attendances? Email kelly-ann.kiernan@whtimes.co.uk

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