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Absent Lincolnshire councillor who claimed £23k steps down

By PWhitelam_LE  |  Posted: June 18, 2012

Sara Cliff

Sara Cliff

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A county councillor who claimed £23,000 in allowances over three years despite attending just 19 council meetings, has resigned.

Conservative Sara Cliff represented Lincoln East, which covers Monks Road and the Tower Estate, for three years after she was elected in May, 2009.

The Echo exclusively revealed this week how Ms Cliff attended just 19 from a possible 52 meetings of Lincolnshire County Council and moved 119 miles away to Soham to become a Methodist minister last year.

In 2011, she sat in on just one committee meeting.

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In a statement to the Echo, Ms Cliff said: "I have taken the decision to resign my position from the county council.

"While I did feel willing and able to carry on representing the people of Lincoln East, in view of the unwarranted hostility in the press, I am clear that this action is in the best interests of the Methodist church, the county council and my own family.

"As a matter of record I have awarded my Big Society Fund to St Barnabas to help support the excellent services they provide."

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  • XNY556  |  June 19 2012, 1:50PM

    This story has now made it into the Daily Mail and local Cambridge News - it may be painful for some to read but you can't get away from the facts!! She should have resigned once she new that she could not meet her commitments to the electorate. People have been prosecuted for taking money for hours not worked - what is different here?

    Rate   -36
  • WhistlingD  |  June 19 2012, 7:41AM

    £23000 for 19 days work!...I'm in the wrong job!

    Rate   1
  • Chas24  |  June 19 2012, 7:04AM

    Any comment from the Methodist Church ?.

    Rate   2
  • West_Lindsey  |  June 18 2012, 6:00PM

    Yes we had an appalling Councillor some years ago and it didn't take long after seeking genuine help for a child to find the priority for this individual was to fail in the duty of care for the child, but as expected, exceed in claiming both County and District expenses for what was seen, as a god given right. This is only the tip of a failing service provided by overpaid and underperforming Lincolnshire County Councillors aided by Council officials. Has any money been returned?

    Rate   -1
  • XNY556  |  June 18 2012, 12:44PM

    This was unacceptable behaviour by any standards. It is made worse by the fact that this person is a member of the church - one who you would expect to have exemplorary standards?? Well done to the Echo team for bringing this to light - they have my full support

    Rate   5
  • MrAWG45  |  June 18 2012, 12:38PM

    There seems to be something systemically wrong with accounting procedures at the Council. First the excesses of Gilliland and his tribe and now this. Why were her claims just nodded through, I wish my employer had been as generous as to pay me when I didn't turn up for work.

    Rate   -3
  • ThornyRay  |  June 18 2012, 12:31PM

    What I am saying is this is a basic allowance that every Councillor gets, just for being a Councillor. The media have added it up over the 3 years to make it more shocking. My opinion is that any Councillor who is elected should be doing the job that they are elected to do. This is not a claim over and above what she would normally get, not in the same way as the MP's who made claims for items over their normal basic allowance for being an MP. If she didn't want to do the work, she should not have been in the election in the first place. As soon as she left the County, she should have automatically been made to stand down. The whole system is wrong, when a member of Public office, does not have to live in the area or authority in which they represent. I am not justifying what this woman has done, I think it is beyond wrong, my point is she is not the only one who does not do the job they are paid for. The figures are being made to look far more than they actually are, in order to make people read the story, and be shocked into a frenzy of anger, much in the same vein as the MP scandal was presented. My concern is that the Councillor who do work, from any party, will be the ones to suffer, and come the next elections good Councillor will lose their jobs, as new ones are elected to sit back and follow party orders because of public opinion and therefor not actually represent the public.

    Rate   12
  • eatmygoal  |  June 18 2012, 12:02PM

    ThornyRay, to summerise it is okay for her to do this then because everyone else is doing it? Or does it still mean she is wrong to do it and the same for everyone else at it?

    Rate   3
  • ThornyRay  |  June 18 2012, 11:38AM

    Once again the media make this look worse than it is. All County Councillors have claimed this amount over 3 years as their basic allowance, some, in fact most have made claims on top of this for special positions, travel food etc. She is not the only one guilty of not doing the work. If this particular media source wishes to be credible, why not flag all of the Councillors who are absent from meetings? I'm sure a lot of people would be very surprised at how little some of them attend. This has been an easy hit as this woman does not even live in Lincolnshire, but maybe all of the lazy Councillors who never attend meetings and do little work should resign. I'd go even further than that, there are many who do turn up, but take no active part, vote with the party and still claim their money too, they are just as bad.

    Rate   14
  • Lincoln_Fan  |  June 18 2012, 10:38AM

    '...in view of the unwarranted hostility in the press...' Unwarranted? You have to be joking!

    Rate   -5