ELECTION COUNTDOWN: Official records show that one councillor has been paid more than £30,000 over the past three years, but has managed to turn up to barely half of council meetings. BELLE MONT reports
According to official council figures, one Liberal Democrat councillor in Sutton has attended only 53 per cent of the meetings of full council and committees he was supposed to be at since 2015.
But Ali Mirhashem still made sure that he collected a total of more than £30,000 in councillor allowances in that time. And although he must have been too busy to turn up for council meetings and committees, he did manage to find the time to submit an expenses claim for … £1.54.
“That’s not the most shameful thing, though,” according to a St Nicholas Way source.
“The real scandal is that the council leader has done nothing about this layabout LibDem councillor, and in fact Ruth Dombey has gone ahead and endorsed him as a candidate for her party in Sutton Central ward in Thursday’s local elections.
“Dombey must regard the voters with utter contempt if she can put forward as candidates councillors who can’t be bothered to turn up for council meetings half the time.”
In some respects, Mirhashem’s attendance record is even worse than the 53 per cent overall figure suggests. According to council records, from June 2015 to March 2018, for the important council audit committee, the LibDem councillor managed to turn up just four times for the 12 meetings that took place – a 33 per cent attendance record.
Mirhashem is not the only layaboutLibDem in Sutton who has been raking in cash from Council Tax-payers in Sutton. Last year, Callum Morton, who is supposed to represent The Wrythe ward, went AWOL in the middle of the year after he got a job with a LibDem MP based in Bath.
But he, too, continued to claim the full “basic” wages paid to councillors, which under the Liberal Democrats has increased in each of the past three years, to stand now at £10,730 per year.
Morton won’t be seeking re-election this time around. He can’t very well, having moved out of the borough for his full-time LibDem political job.
In the meantime, Council Tax-payer-funded Mirhashem and his LibDem colleagues have been busy distributing negative campaigning leaflets claiming “Labour can’t win here”.
“He’s done more work to get himself re-elected and stay on the council gravy train than he has done in the four years he’s been a councillor,” according to one deeply underwhelmed council colleague.
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