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Councillor gets a no confidence vote

PUBLISHED: 10:58 20 August 2010 | UPDATED: 09:17 16 September 2010

A WAVENEY district councillor's performance has been called into question after he was given a vote of no confidence.

The vote was carried by Beccles town councillors who accused Gary Ruickbie of not fulfilling his duties and failing to represent townspeople.

A WAVENEY district councillor's performance has been called into question after he was given a vote of no confidence.

The vote was carried by Beccles town councillors who accused Gary Ruickbie of not fulfilling his duties and failing to represent townspeople.

It is not the first time Mr Ruickbie has been accused of being “unheard of” in his Beccles South ward.

Last year district councillor Graham Elliott, member for Beccles North, appealed for Mr Ruickbie to step down from his seat amid claims he was not fulfilling his duties.

In February last year he met Waveney District Council leader Mark Bee and chief executive Stephen Baker to ask that a by-election be held to coincide with the European Parliament and county council elections.

At the time he said it was an opportunity for Mr Ruickbie to step aside quietly and to do so at minimal cost to the council, but this request was refused.

At a Beccles Town Council meeting on Tuesday night town councillor Michael Doherty proposed a vote of no confidence in Mr Ruickbie.

“He has been in office for a couple and a half years and to the best of my knowledge he has not been to this chamber at any single meeting,” he said.

“He has not contacted any member of this council and he has certainly not contacted the office. They have tried to contact him and he has not responded.

“He has drawn down about £8,000 in allowances. He is on just two committees at Waveney District Council, one of which is full council, but he takes no part in working parties, committees or anything like this.

“He is supposed to represent the people of Beccles. I do not think he does.”

Mr Doherty said Beccles has three district councillors who do a good job of representing local people, Barry Bee, Graham Elliott and Chris Punt.

“They are hard working good district councillors for the people of Beccles,” he said, adding of Mr Ruickbie: “I do not think he is a good councillor at all.”

The vote of no confidence was carried 11 to 1.

After the meeting Mr Elliott said: “The people of Beccles deserve better than this. And they certainly shouldn't be paying for a councillor who does not to work for them.

“David Cameron wants to see the power of recall for poorly performing MPs. Surely this should include poorly performing local councillors?”

Mr Ruickbie was unavailable for comment last night.

A Waveney District Council spokesman said: “A vote of no confidence from a town council has no relevance on the elected position of a district councillor.

“Councillor Ruickbie, along with all other Waveney district councillors, and indeed the town and parish councillors of the district, is set to remain in office until May next year when all district, town and parish council seats are up for election.

“The voters themselves can decide who should or should not represent them for the coming four years.”

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