Wed | Jan 23, 2019

Absent councillors threatened with budget cut

Published:Saturday | December 15, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Fed up with councillors' non-attendance at meetings, chairman of the St Mary Municipal Corporation and Mayor of Port Maria Richard Creary has threatened to take action.

Addressing the corporation's monthly meeting on Thursday, Creary said come next year, allocations of funds to councillors will be made based on their attendance at meetings.

He did not say how the reduced allocations would be arrived at.

Thursday's meeting failed to start at the scheduled time of 10a.m., beginning instead at around 10:25, after councillors arrived late.

Creary, who had arrived at his office at 9a.m., was peeved.

"Generally, we're having issues with attendance and I've always threatened, but I've never carried out the threat," he told the councillors.

"Come next year, councillors' allocations are going to be done based on attendance, so those of us who (are absent) for months, when you get the allocation, it will be reflected in the allocation that you're not coming to council meetings. So I just want to make it clear that that is how it will be.

"It is not fair, a lot of us as councillors, we don't come to meetings at all, we don't participate in any function."

Creary cited the Local Government Month Church Service in November, saying out of 13 councillors about four or five were present. A similar scenario played out at the corporation's workday at the infirmary last month, with four or five councillors turning up, the mayor pointed out.

"But when money must share everybody want the same amount. So a going tell you, people going to hate me because we need participation. Being a councillor does not mean how much you're getting every month, and then you write a programme and you spend the money. There is more to being a councillor than that. You're a board of directors."

On Thursday, when the meeting started at 10:25 only six councillors, including the mayor, were present. During the course of the meeting, six others turned up, the final one turning up around 40 minutes after the start. There was one absentee.

Creary's pronouncement came after he announced that Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie had allocated a further $150,000 to each councillor for the Christmas period, after an initial amount of $500,000 was announced for each.

rural@gleanerjm.com