Labour councillors removed from office for not attending any meetings for six months
Two Labour councillors have been removed from Rotherham Council for not attending any meetings in the past six months.
Leon Allcock, who represented Rother Vale ward, and Katherine Wilson, who represented Anston and Woodsetts ward have been automatically removed from the council, for their non-attendance.
Richard Price, the Labour member for Maltby ward, also resigned from his position as councillor on April 27, meaning Labour has lost three seats on the council.
Due to Coronavirus, all elections are postponed for a year, including by-elections, which means these seats will remain vacant for a year.
Coun Chris Read, council leader, said: "In a normal situation where voters were going to the polls next week, electors would be choosing a full set of councillors to represent them.
“Sadly at the current time that isn't possible.
“These three councillors for various personal reasons had not been able to meet the minimum requirement of meeting attendance.
“While going to meetings is only one part of being a councillor it is right that they have to step down from the council as a result.
“Clearly I am disappointed that this is where we've got to, but I wish them well for the future.”
Michael Sylvester, an independent campaigner for Dalton, East Herringthorpe and Thrybergh wrote to Sharon Kemp, council chief executive, calling for the removal of Mr Allcock and Ms Wilson from office.
He wrote: “It is welcome that, whether a result of that call or not, that they have been removed from office.”
He said the removal of the three councillors would save the authority more than £30,000 in allowances.
Mr Sylvester said: “Over the last six months each would have been entitled to £5,700 in allowances. This underlines that the system needs to change to stop councillors being paid whether or not they attend meetings.”
Bal Nahal, council head of legal services, said: “Former councillor Mr Price resigned his position on April 27.
“Mr Allcock and Ms Wilson ceased to be councillors on April 30 as a result of non-attendance of council meetings. Section 85 of the Local Government Act 1972 requires members to attend a minimum of one meeting every six months and where they fail to do so, they cease to hold that office.
“All elections and by-elections in the UK have been suspended until May 2021 following emergency Covid-19 legislation, so these seats will remain vacant in the interim.
"The Maltby, Rother Vale and Anston & Woodsetts wards will each continue to be represented by two remaining councillors – details are available on our website, moderngov.rotherham.gov.uk/mgFindMember.aspx”