Ceredigion County Council ‘must take action’ against absent councillor

THE WELSH Government have told Ceredigion County Council that it “must take action” against an Aberystwyth councillor who has only attended five full council meetings in the last twenty-two months.

Councillor Aled Davies who represents the people of Aberystwyth’s Rheidol ward, and is paid £13,300 a year in taxpayers’ money has only attended five full council meetings since May 2013, out of the twenty-two held. cllr-aled-davies

In response to the figures, which were revealed by the Cambrian News newspaper, the Welsh Government has warned the council that it “must take action” against members who shirk their responsibilities. Despite this, Ceredigion County Council have stated that “no action” will be taken against Cllr Davies for his continual absence.

However Mr Davies has defended his record. He said: “While I try to turn up as often as I can I do find it difficult at time with work. It is easier for most members, who are retired, to go to meetings but with work it makes it harder for me.

“To be honest though, sometimes these meetings are a complete waste of time and decisions have been made beforehand anyway. I do a lot of work in the community and find it hard as an independent member, fighting as a lone individual against other affiliated members who have group agendas and have made decisions together before meetings have even taken place.

“In that sense I do ask myself is there any point? And in my defence I always read meeting agendas before hand and will make a point if I feel I can contribute, but most of the time I trust the recommendations made by our council officers.”

In response, a Welsh Government spokesperson said, “The majority of councillors in Wales are dedicated and hard-working individuals, providing a valuable service to their constituents. There are always exceptions, and where councillors fail to carry out what is expected of them councils must take action.”

“The White Paper we published for consultation earlier this month proposes clearer roles and responsibilities for councillors, with stronger consequences for those who fail to live up to them.”

A spokesman for the local authority said: “The council closely monitors attendance records to ensure all councillors comply with the relevant legislation, which applies when a member fails to attend for a period of six consecutive months from the date of their last attendance.

“Attendance records must be looked at in the context of the wider role of a county councillor, which comprises of a range of other community and electorate-centred duties in addition to council meetings, to gain an accurate account of the performance of councillors.”

Cllr Davies also represents Aberystwyth North ward on Aberystwyth Town Council, however he isn’t remunerated for the role.