Deputy mayor fails to show at meetings

KERRY MCBRIDE
Last updated 09:43 27/02/2013
Liz Kelly
LIZ KELLY: Missing council meetings.

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Porirua's deputy mayor is under fire for missing council meetings since Christmas while still drawing her $40,000-a-year salary.

Liz Kelly has missed six of the last 10 meetings organised by Porirua City Council, including workshops on the annual plan, and an extraordinary full council meeting to discuss the artificial turf at Ascot Park.

Councillors refused to accept her apologies at the extraordinary meeting held last week, with mayor Nick Leggett saying his deputy should find time to fulfil her duties.

"It's expected that the deputy mayor does come and take part," he said. "She's found time to be all over things like [community festival] Creekfest, but hasn't actually found time to grace the council with her presence."

Council policy states that, if a councillor misses three regular meetings without good cause, he or she can be dismissed.

Mr Leggett said that would be an extreme measure, but Ms Kelly needed to show up and "play a positive and constructive part in the decisions of the city".

Councillors Litea Ah Hoi and Denys Latham have both missed three meetings since the beginning of December, and councillors Robert Rangi and Euon Murrell have missed one each.

Councillor Anita Baker said Ms Kelly also missed a Waitangi Day marae event to welcome new citizens, which was attended by all other councillors and dignitaries.

"That's her own marae, I find that quite rude."

The council was becoming sick of it, but it was difficult to approach Ms Kelly as she was not fronting up to meetings, Ms Baker said.

"My feeling is that most people have had enough. You don't mind when people take a leave of absence because they're going away, but this is just poor."

Ms Kelly did not respond to requests to explain her absences, but said she carried more than the fair share of work required for a councillor and deputy mayor.

"I was unable to attend the [extraordinary] meeting in question and am disappointed my apology for not attending was not accepted.

"The mayor is on record acknowledging that there is far more to council work than council meetings, important though they are, and attendance does not reflect the full range of a councillor's workload."

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- The Dominion Post

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