Mayor stands up for absent councillors

Mirfield Town Council building - Council Offices on Huddersfield Road in Mirfield. (D543A449)
Mirfield Town Council building - Council Offices on Huddersfield Road in Mirfield. (D543A449)

The Mayor of Mirfield has defended the town council’s attendance record after it emerged six current and former councillors had turned up to less than half of the council’s meetings.

Figures were included in an attendance register given out at the annual council meeting on Tuesday, showing a total of 131 individual absences from the council’s bi-monthly meetings over the past year.

When asked if she was happy with the record, Mayor Vivien Lees Hamilton, said: “No, I was not – as it means the burden of the work falls to the people that have attended.

“But the problem is this never gives the reasons for absences. I have to state that at least two of the councillors were given an extended leave of absence due to illness, and some of them have ill relatives to look after.

“Being a town councillor is a voluntary role, and sometimes it is difficult to juggle work and care commitments with it – I know this from my own experiences.”

She went on to say she hoped the attendance record would improve in spite of councillors’ personal challenges, but understood those who couldn’t attend.

She said: “I want all those who are able to attend to do so, but I am keen to stress that many councillors have other commitments. I have been there myself when I was looking after my mum – the council was very understanding.”

Funds to support Mirfield Town Council are raised through a council tax precept, meaning people in the town pay extra for the service.

It was agreed at the town council meeting that the precept would not be raised this year.

For more information on Mirfield Town Council, visit www.mirfieldtowncouncil.gov.uk.