When We, Taxpayers, Paid To Keep Absent Councillors

Readers may recall, about a year ago, WLBC paying Counsel £800 for legal advice to keep an absent councillor in office. Allowances paid! And WLBC employs solicitors!

Now, have you read about a pensioner, 91, being kicked off a parish council after 50 years for failing to attend zoom meetings during lockdown because he doesn’t have a computer?

Strensall Parish Council, in North Yorkshire, has disqualified Dennis Baxter and another elderly member, Raymond Maher, because they do not attend video-conference meetings.

Cllr Baxter, 91, who has served on the council for more than 50 years, says he does not have a computer and so has been unable to join any meetings held online.  Chairman Tony Fisher said Strensall Parish Council had no choice but to disqualify Cllr Baxter under national rules relating to attendance at meetings.

Rules state that councillors who do not attend meetings for six months must be removed from their posts. Mr Maher, has also been disqualified because he doesn’t do Zoom. “If we had not disqualified the two councillors, every decision the parish council then made that they participated in would have been unlawful”   

Following the decision, Cllr Baxter said “I haven’t got a computer. There’s a playing field here and I have been picking litter up every morning”.

One resident of Strensall told the York Press “Before lockdown, Mr Baxter was regularly seen litter picking on the playing field in front of the village hall and regularly attended their meetings”.

Readers may suspect 91 year old Dennis Baxter sets an example we would find hard to find in our WLBC elected members?

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