Anger at Adur councillor’s £620 a meeting

A COUNCILLOR is earning the equivalent of £620 for every meeting he attends.

Gavin Ayling, Liberal Democrat councillor for the Adur District Council Eastbrook ward, in Southwick, has attended just five meetings since the beginning of the calendar year.

Just three of these are since he was elected to his new ward on May 6.

Adur District Council leader Neil Parkin has criticised Mr Ayling for his lack of attendance.

He suggested Mr Ayling pay his £3,100 a year allowance to the chairman’s charities.

“It is very annoying for the rest of us,” he said.

“It makes us all look bad. But, there are a lot of people out there really working hard.”

“Too much

Mr Ayling was previously a Conservative councillor but was deselected before the May elections.

Conservative councillor for the St Nicolas ward, Mr Parkin, said there was “no leeway” in the rules to adjust councillors’ allowances and said Mr Ayling’s attendance had been “appalling”.

He added: “Your readers may be reassured most Adur councillors get less than £1 a hour for the work they do and some people think this is too much.”

Councillors must attend a minimum of one meeting every six months. The dates of the meetings attended by Mr Ayling are March 15, April 13, May 20, June 28 and December 16.

Mr Ayling was unavailable for comment before the Herald went to press.

Work commitments

Bob Smytherman, from the Liberal Democrat party, said Mr Ayling’s low attendance was probably due to work commitments which sometimes took him abroad. “Obviously, he has to earn a living,” he said.

Mr Smytherman said Mr Parkin’s comments were probably down to “political sour grapes” because Mr Ayling won his seat as a Liberal Democrat in the May elections.

He also said it was difficult for the two Liberal Democrat councillors in Adur, Mr Ayling and Richard Burt, to make their voices heard in a “sea of blue”.

Mr Smytherman said Mr Burt had also had lower attendance than normal because of ill health.