Councillor defends "£700 an hour" pay
A COUNTY councillor who picked up a "£700 an hour" wage after attending just five meetings has defended his record.
John Woodward, Conservative councillor for Camborne West, was paid more than £10,000 for 15 hours in council meetings, but has today insisted he was paid the least amount of money of all the 82 county councillors.
Mr Woodward said he had not claimed any mileage, subsistence or any other allowances apart from the "basic allowance" during his three-year spell as a county councillor.
Mr Woodward added: "Any councillor will tell you that attending formal minuted meetings is only part of the job. The majority of the workload goes unreported.
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"In the past few weeks, I have attended and spoken at several public meetings; arranged a meeting with the police beat manager to discuss alcohol abuse in the Camborne West ward; arranged for a blocked sewer to be cleared; established ownership of a grass verge and attended a town council working party for footpath maintenance in the parish," he said.
"In addition to these, there are the routine inquiries, especially highways matters which can involve being contacted at all hours of the day."
The total paid out to councillors in basic allowances was £878,525.04 while an additional £245,870.40 was paid to councillors with special responsibilities. These ranged from £500.04 for Cllr Godfrey Smale to £21,775.92 to leader of the council David Whalley.
Councillors claimed a total of £11.947.11 in subsistence expenses which cover the cost of meals and accommodation required on council business.
The smallest amount claimed was just £1.35 while the highest claim was £1,015.29 by Cllr Terry Lello. Ten councillors made no claims under subsistence.
Travel costs for all councillors reached £150,808.82 with nine members not claiming any travel costs. The smallest actual claim was for £52 from Penzance Cllr John Payne while the highest claim was for Bude-based council leader David Whalley with £12,427.75.
It means that the total money paid out to councillors was £1,287,151.37.
In our October 2008 article “Councillor’s ‘£700 per hour’ yearly wage” , we reported that Cornwall County Councillor John Woodward’s annual pay, when divided by the number of hours spent in council meetings, worked out as over £700 per hour.
We would like to make it clear that this figure accounts only for time spent in official Council meetings and not for the other duties which the allowance covers.
We would also like to acknowledge that our original calculation was based on a misreading of data - which led to an underestimation of Councillor Woodward’s levels of attendance at council meetings - and to apologise to Councillor Woodward for not contacting him prior to publication to confirm our figures.