Tuesday, 18 March 2014

My question to the Crawley News about Councillor attendance at meetings

Blatant left-wing propaganda - Crawley News front page 11th December 2013

The Crawley News has published a story about the attendance of Crawley Councillors at meetings over the six month period from May to November 2013. I’ve reproduced it below in red italics from the Crawley News website. Given the Crawley News’ strongly suspected left-wing political leanings as shown in the photo above of their front page from the 11th of December 2013, red feels like the appropriate colour. However, I've also highlighted in blue a few sentences I wish to focus on within their story and in purple, the cheap shot sentence that drove me to write this article. 
For the record, the only meeting that I missed was because I was elsewhere representing the Council on Council business. Conservative Cabinet members being on Council business is a contributing factor as to why the Labour group have a slightly higher overall percentage than the Conservative group. When the Council was Labour controlled, more often than not it was the Conservative group who had the higher attendance with this factor contributing. The figures are accurate and are provided by the Council so we can have confidence in this part of the story.
Where the reporting goes downhill is the focus purely on percentage and the disregard of the number the meetings attended. While percentage is important, only a plonker would present it as the whole story while not referencing as significant the total number of meetings we all attend.
The Crawley News infer that I am being politically cynical (or that I am stupid) for highlighting the disgustingly low attendance of sole UKIP Councillor Karl Williamson (whom some Councillors believe is living in LA) while remaining silent about Councillor Keith Brockwell who had the lowest % attendance out of all my 19 Conservative colleagues. Keith’s photo also heads up their story. In response to this, I’ll try and spell it out to the Crawley News as simply as I can in the hope that they get it….
4 x 250% = 10.
If the Crawley News are so keen on percentages, then I ask them this:
Why would I highlight Cllr Keith Brockwell for low attendance when he has attended 250% more meetings than Cllr Karl Williamson?
My question becomes even starker when I reveal that Karl Williamson received £1372 in Special Responsibility Allowance (SRA) during this period meaning his total remuneration was £4460 as opposed to Keith Brockwell who received no SRA and whose total remuneration was £3345, based on the six months and 1 week that the attendance figures cover.
For my percentage loving friends at the Crawley News I offer this % fact: Cllr Keith Brockwell attended 250% more meetings than Cllr Karl Williamson but only received 75% of his remuneration.
To conclude, I am 100% sure that they have the photo of the wrong Councillor heading up their story!        
FIGURES revealing how many council meetings Crawley borough councillors attended between May and November 2013 have been revealed.
Eight councillors out of 37 went to all the meetings they were due to attend.
For Labour those with a 100 per cent attendance record were Marion Ayling, Michael Jones, Stephen Joyce and Chris Mullins.
For the Conservatives Nigel Boxall, Richard Burrett, Vanessa Cumper and Alan Quirk had a perfect record.
Related content
Labour councillors had a better overall record than their Conservative counterparts.
Labour representatives attended 90 per cent of meetings while Conservatives attended 84 per cent.
The sole UKIP councillor, Karl Williamson, attended four out of seven meetings – a 57 per cent attendance rate.
The councillor with the worst attendance was Conservative Keith Brockwell, who attended ten of 18 meetings, giving the Pound Hill North ward representative a 56 per cent attendance rate.
Councillor Williamson's attendance became a talking point last month when Conservative councillor Duncan Crow called for him to resign.
He accused the former Tory of effectively giving up his council responsibilities while continuing to get paid for being a councillor.
While Cllr Williamson has the second worst attendance record, Cllr Crow made no mention of his fellow Tory, Cllr Brockwell's record, which was slightly worse.
Councillor - Possible meetings they could attend - Actual meetings they attended - Percentage of meetings attended
*Marion Ayling (Bewbush, Labour) - 8 - 8 - 100%
*Keith Blake (Gossops Green, Conservatives) - 14 - 13 - 93%
*Sally Blake (Pound Hill North, Conservatives) - 26 - 22 - 85%
*Howard Bloom (Southgate, Conservatives) - 13 - 12 - 92%
*Nigel Boxall (Tilgate, Conservatives) - 10 - 10 - 100%
*Keith Brockwell (Pound Hill North, Conservatives) - 18 - 10 - 56%
*Brenda Burgess (Three Bridges, Conservative) - 21 - 19 - 90%
*Bob Burgess (Three Bridges, Conservatives) - 18 - 15 - 83%
*Lee Burke (Pound Hill South & Worth, Conservatives) - 18 - 17 - 94%
*Richard Burrett (Pound Hill North, Conservatives) - 14 - 14 - 100%
*Chris Cheshire (Bewbush, Labour) - 15 - 11 - 73%
*Vanessa Cumper (West Green, Conservatives) - 8 - 8 - 100%
*Duncan Crow (Furnace Green, Conservatives) - 18 - 17 - 94%
*Claire Denman (Pound Hill South & Worth, Conservatives) - 23 - 15 - 65%
*John Denman (Ifield, Conservatives) - 19 - 15 - 79%
*Carol Eade (Furnace Green, Conservatives) - 17 - 14 - 82%
*Ian Irvine (Broadfield North, Labour) - 21 - 20 - 95%
*Michael Jones (Bewbush, Labour) - 10 - 10 - 100%
*Stephen Joyce (Langley Green, Labour) - 19 - 19 - 100%
*Peter Lamb (Northgate, Labour) - 10 - 9 - 90%
*Bob Lanzer (Pound Hill South & Worth - Conservatives) - 20 - 15 - 75%
*Colin Lloyd (Tilgate, Labour) - 17 - 16 - 94%
*Liam Marshall-Ascough (Southgate, Conservatives) - 16 - 10 - 63%
*Colin Moffatt (Broadfield South, Labour) - 18 - 16 - 89%
*Chris Mullins (Gossops Green, Labour) - 8 - 8 - 100%
*Chris Oxlade (Ifield, Labour) - 10 - 7 - 70%
*Duncan Peck (Maidenbower, Conservatives) - 7 - 5 - 71%
*Brian Quinn (Broadfield North, Labour) - 9 - 8 - 89%
*Alan Quirk (Broadfield South, Conservatives) - 19 - 19 - 100%
*David Shreeves (Langley Green, Labour) - 15 - 14 - 93%
*Brenda Smith (Langley Green, Labour) - 11 - 8 - 73%
*Peter Smith (Ifield, Labour) - 21 - 19 - 90%
*Geraint Thomas (Northgate, Labour) - 24 - 21 - 88%
*Ken Trussell (Maidenbower, Conservatives) - 18 - 17 - 94%
*Lenny Walker (Maidenbower, Conservatives) - 11 - 8 - 73%
*Bill Ward (West Green, Labour) - 22 - 21 - 95%
*Karl Williamson (Southgate, UKIP) - 7 - 4 - 57%


Anonymous said...

Neither you or the crawley news feel that the joke attendance of Cllr Liam Marshall-Ascough at 63% is worthy of comment. He is only just above Karl Williamson and Keith Brockwell and not for the first time, just like Karl Williamson, his attendance is one of the lowest of all.

When on his sick bag inducing ego trip in the crawley news last summer, saying how he was going to be leader of the council, his bubble was deflated by the crawley observer pointing out he had one of the lowest attendances of any councillor. Leopards don't change their spots but thank heavens for Crawley they don't become council leaders.

Anonymous said...

I didn't realise that local rag was still going. They haven't been dumping it through my letterbox for weeks.

Duncan Crow said...

There has been no response from the Crawley News but I see they have done another story about this.

A picture of Keith Brockwell heads up the article and has the caption "worst attendance" and is then followed by a picture of Labour Councillor Chris Mullins with a caption of "best attendance".

Chris does indeed have a 100% record for this period but has actually attended 2 less meetings (8) than Keith Brockwell (10).

Still, the Crawley News doesn't let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Duncan Crow said...

Three weeks on, my question to the Crawley News has of course not been answered.