Monday, 30 November 2020

Councillors clash over attendance records

COUNCILLORS have clashed after their attendance records were aired in public.

COUNCILLORS have clashed after their attendance records were aired in public.

Ian Reissmann, who sits on the town council’s recreation and amenities committee, revealed the record of members over the last four years at a meeting last week.

There were protests from other members as Councillor Reissman, a member of Henley Residents’ Group, attempted to read out the figures.

Chairwoman Jeni Wood (Independent) threatened to throw him out of the meeting, saying she would not allow “grandstanding”.

Mayor Martin Akehurst (Conservative) told him to “knock it off” and Councillor Sam Evans (Con) accused him of “trying to score political points” while Councillor Joan Bland (Con) walked out of the meeting until after the row. Cllr Reissman said: “I can see why the Mayor is upset as his record at this committee is 60 per cent.”

Cllr Akehurst replied that his attendance was better than that of Councillor Laila Meachin (HRG), who is not standing in the elections following a poor record of attendance at meetings which she blamed on her workload.

Of the 11 councillors on the committee, only Councillor Pam Phillips (Ind) had a 100 per cent attendance record followed by Cllr Stefan Gawrysiak (HRG) on 97 per cent, Cllr Reissmann on 93 per cent, Cllr David Clenshaw (HRG) on 90 per cent, Cllrs Bland and Evans both on 87 per cent, Cllr Wood and Cllr Kellie Hinton (HRG) on 83 per cent, Cllr David Silvester (Ind) on 80 per and Cllr Elizabeth Hodgkin (Ind) on 73 per cent. After the meeting, Cllr Wood told Cllr Reissmann: “I and most of the other members present felt you were using the occasion for yet more grandstanding and your comments were not relevant to the meeting.

“You refused to accede to the wishes of fellow members just as you refused to put away your phone when you had the bad manners to ignore the speaker and carry on reading and replying to emails during the meeting.

“Having seen you in action this evening, I suspect everyone present will now fully understand why five councillors left HRG, heartily sick of your bullying and scheming within our own party.

“I apologise to all members and staff present this evening for having had to witness such Reissmann-centred scenes when all had attended, in good faith, to carry on the business of the committee.”

Cllr Reissmann, who chairs the council’s finance strategy and management committee, also read out attendance figures of that committee at a meeting last week.

He congratulated himself and Councillors David Nimmo Smith and Will Hamilton for 100 per cent attendance at meetings before adding: “There are some lower figures.”

Cllr Reissmann then read the records of all members including Cllr Gawrysiak 93.3 per cent, Cllr Phillips 90 per cent, Cllr Akehurst 80 per cent, Cllr Lorraine Hillier (Con) 73.3 per cent, Cllr Hodgkin 70 per cent and Cllr Wood 65.2 per cent.

Cllr Hodgkin said: “I do not approve or agree with making those figures public. If people are unwell or in hospital they cannot attend.”

Cllr Nimmo Smith said: “It is not just about attending the meetings. It is about contribution to them as well.”

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