That’s the average cost to Croydon’s Council Tax-payers for the presence at each official council, cabinet or committee meeting attended in the past 12 months by Steve “Britain’s most overpaid local councillor” O’Connell.
It was revealed at last night’s council meeting by Council Leader Mike Fisher that O’Connell has the second-worst attendance record among Croydon’s senior Conservatives.
Since May 2011, O’Connell – who as a cabinet member of the controlling Tory group pockets £44,780 in allowances from Croydon Council – has attended just 17 official council, cabinet or committee meetings.
That works out at more than £2,600 a meeting for the former mortgage salesman.
Most of the other nine Tory cabinet members managed to turn up on at least 10 occasions more than O’Connell during the past year. Tim Pollard, Fisher’s deputy and the cabinet member in charge of schools and youth services, attended 42 council meetings during the past year.
O’Connell is councillor for Kenley. Now a full-time politician, he is seeking re-election this Thursday as the Tory candidate for the Greater London Assembly for Sutton and Croydon alongside the Conservative candidate for Mayor Boris Johnson.
Because of his multiple local authority roles, in 2011, O’Connell received a grand total of £118,000 in publicly funded allowances from Croydon and City Hall. This earned him the title of “Britain’s best-paid local councillor,” from that well-known left-wing publication (not), the Daily Mail.
O’Connell’s response at the time was, “I’m worth it.”
As well as absenting himself from large amounts of council business or accepting gifts from a dodgy local businessman who turned out to be a fraudster, O’Connell is developing a reputation for failing to respond to constituents’ letters and emails. One local resident had to contact him more than 20 times recently, seeking a statement from the Assembly Member on the Beddington incinerator.
Some of the council meetings O’Connell has missed have been highly significant ones. And O’Connell’s absence has not always necessarily been for the best of reasons. On one notorious occasion last November, O’Connell was Tweeting about buying tickets for a football match while the Conservative cabinet was meeting.
- Inside Croydon: brought to you from the heart of the borough, free of charge, an independent voice standing for freedom of speech for the people of Croydon
- Croydon questions: Steve O’Connell, Conservatives (insidecroydon.com)
- Accountability? Not from Kenley’s £115,000pa councillor (insidecroydon.com)
- Racist article by councillor’s husband is widely condemned (insidecroydon.com)