Pottinger top attendee

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    Cr Ian Pottinger (centre), Cr Lindsay Thomas and Cr Lesley Soper celebrate after making a solid showing at council meetings over the course of their term in office. Photo: Abbey Palmer

    AND the prize for attendance goes to …..[drum roll]….Invercargill City councillor Ian Pottinger.

    He has fronted up to all 81 council and committee meetings he is an appointed member of from the inaugural meeting on October 26, 2016 until April 9 of this year.

    That’s to say, he has not missed a single meeting he was assigned to.

    “It is no different from being on any other team. Imagine being on a rugby team and not show up,” he said.

    “When you sign up to be on council…it is part of the job to go to meetings.”

    With the local government elections looming, and as one indicator of their performance, the Southland Express sought to find out how many meetings Invercargill City councillors had attended which they were appointed to over their term in office.

    Close behind Cr Pottinger and in second place is Cr Lindsay Thomas, who missed two meetings up to April 9.

    Crs Graham Lewis and Darren Ludlow are tied for third place, having missed four.

    At the bottom of the table is Cr Allan Arnold, missing 21 of the 81 committee and council meetings he is an appointed member of.

    Cr Arnold said there had been a reason for each absence, “otherwise I would have been there”.

    “I try to be there as much as possible…but I have a full-time job.”

    Crs Toni Biddle and Lloyd Esler are tied for second last place, having missed 15 meetings.

    Cr Lesley Soper arguably deserves the award for ‘going above and beyond’.

    Although she was absent from nine meetings she was assigned to up to April 9, she attended a whopping 22 additional meetings she was not required to attend.

    Cr Rebecca Amundsen places second, attending an additional 19 meetings, with Cr Thomas in third place, attending 15.

    Mayor Tim Shadbolt attended 78 of the total 117 council and committee meetings held over the same period of time.

    He is an ex-officio member of all council and committee meetings, meaning he is a member of all committees by virtue of his position, but he is not required to attend the meetings.

    Mr Shadbolt said Cr Pottinger was to be congratulated on his attendance record.

    However, he was quick to defend the other members of council.

    There were many other activities councillors were involved in which were not recorded, like attending workshops, citizenship ceremonies, and welcoming visitors to the city, he said.

    “Other councillors have done a huge amount of work [in other areas], but there are no minutes kept.”

    Some councillors may not have attended all meetings they were assigned to, but they were “tigers for punishment” and had “phenomenal” attendance at workshops, which was where all the “real work” was done, he said.

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