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No phone calls, cancelled surgeries, Kiely under fire again
3:00pm Wednesday 28th November 2012 in News
CALLS have been made for an elusive councillor to pay his £8,000 allowance back to tax payers.
Labour councillor Aaron Kiely’s poor attendance at council meetings is well known, but following a Freedom of Information request, the Gazette can now reveal he has not made a single call on his council mobile phone in six months.
The council paid out £114 in line rental costs on the phone, which councillors are supposed to use for their work helping residents.
We have also discovered the councillor, who is supposed to be representing the Ockendon ward, did not attend his last ward surgery – and constituents can’t remember the last time he did!
Thurrock Council’s website advertises Cllr Kiely’s surgeries as being on the third Saturday of each month at South Ockendon Community Forum, which meant he was expected on Saturday, November 17.
The 23-year-old’s Twitter page says he was at a Gaza demonstration in London instead.
South Ockendon resident Peter Perrin, 79, is one of the residents fed up with the no-shows and believes Cllr Kiely should pay back his allowance.
He said: “It is obvious Aaron Kiely has no interest in his role as a councillor and is only attending council twice a year in order to qualify for his £8,000 allowance.
“He is accepting public money but not doing the job for which he was elected. He should let someone else do the job.”
Mr Perrin, who was particularly outraged that Cllr Kiely was a no-show at the town’s Remembrance Day service, has also criticised the Labour Party.
He said: “They should withdraw the whip and no longer recognise him as a Labour councillor.
“I believe they are not doing this because the council is so tight and they want to hang onto power.”
Cllr Kiely, who has the poorest meeting attendance rate of all Thurrock’s 49 councillors, has turned up for just two council meetings this year. He is employed as the National Student Union black students’ officer.
He made the news in October when he supported halting the extradition of hate cleric Abu Hamza.
Thurrock Council’s Labour group was asked to comment, but hadn’t as the Gazette went to press.
* THE Conservatives believe Labour leader John Kent must take action against Aaron Kiely “for the sake of his own credibility”.
Conservative leader Phil Anderson said Cllr Kiely’s actions are “a blatant abuse of position”.
He said: “I have great sympathy and respect for councillors of all parties who have to balance the pressures of their work, family life, and council duties.
"Unfortunately in this case what we are seeing looks more like a blatant abuse of position.
“Nearly two months ago Labour leader Cllr John Kent promised an investigation. So far we have heard absolutely nothing as a result.
“For the sake of his own credibility, Cllr Kent has to take action and ensure Cllr Kiely starts doing the job he was elected for.”