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Absent councillor in £7k allowance claim

By Boston Target  |  Posted: August 02, 2013

English Democrats councillor Elliott Fountain

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A FORMER police and crime commissioner candidate has been kicked off a council after failing to attend any meetings in the last six months.

English Democrat councillor Elliott Fountain has turned up to just two out of a possible 13 meetings at Boston Borough Council in 2013 – a figure that equates to just 15 per cent.

Since May 2012, he has attended eight from a possible 29 meetings.

Now the authority has called a by-election for the Fenside ward on Thursday, September 5, when voters will elect a new representative.

His failure to attend a Boston Town Area Committee conference on July 3 triggered the action.

Mr Fountain's last recorded attendance came at a meeting of the full council on January 24.

And despite his poor attendance, Mr Fountain has pocketed more than £7,500 in allowances since he was elected to office in 2011.

Conservative Peter Bedford, leader of the borough council, told the Target: "It is a terrible shame.

"Attending committee meetings is essential because that is where all the real work is carried out.

"I am very disappointed because Elliott Fountain's attendance became worse and worse.

"When he was first elected he seemed eager to make an impression and get involved.

"He received an email warning him of his attendance before the six-month rule came up but he didn't reply.

"When I first became a councillor back in 1991, we were paid based on attendance and I would like to see a return to that in an idea world.

"It is definitely the fairest way."

Mr Fountain pulled out of the running to become Lincolnshire's first police and crime commissioner during last year's campaign. Independent Alan Hardwick went on to win the contest.

He also ran for office in Lincolnshire County Council by-elections for Lincoln East and Nettleham and Saxilby wards – both in 2012.

Since he was elected to office in May, 2011, Mr Fountain sat on the authority's audit and governance committee, Boston town area committee and environment and performance committee.

Mr Fountain represented more than 4,000 constituents in Boston Fenside ward.

Richard Harbord, chief executive of Boston Borough Council, told the Target: "Under Section 85 of the Local Government Act 1972, it is expressly provided that where a member fails to attend at least one meeting in a period of six consecutive months, he ceases to be a councillor. That is unless the failure was due to some reason approved by the council prior to the expiry of that period.

"Unfortunately, as Councillor Fountain failed to meet this requirement and made no request for his continued absence to be approved, there was no alternative but to declare his seat vacant."

Mr Fountain was unavailable for comment this week.

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