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Resignation call for Lewisham Council's absentee New Cross councillors
MEET the councillor who is paid £4,906 for every meeting he attends and his footie mad colleague - you probably won't clap eyes on them anywhere else.
Mystery surrounds the whereabouts of Councillor Stephen Padmore, who has attended only two of the 33 meetings he was expected at from June 1 2011 to June 1 this year.
Even Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock was forced to admit last week he had not heard from the New Cross ward councillor, claiming he may have been suffering from ill health.
The issue of attendance was raised at last week's full council meeting by the People Before Profit group in a series of written questions to the mayor.
Cllr Padmore, needless to say, was not present, but fellow ward councillor and serial absentee Cllr Madeliene Long was - at least until she nipped out to watch the football.
In the last six months of 2011, Cllr Long attended just three out of her 10 meetings, though she has upped her appearances this year.
At last week's meeting, while councillors discussed the ongoing problems of betting shops in Deptford - the ward neighbouring Cllr Long's - News Shopper found her in the lobby watching the climax of Italy vs Germany in the Euro 2012 championships on the council TV.
Despite being momentarily distracted by Germany winning a penalty, Cllr Long said of her attendance: "It doesn't meant to say I haven't been doing a lot of work.
"I do a lot of work that doesn't register as formal council attendance. I have no problem with serving my constituents."
Both councillors are on a basic allowance of £9,812 - that's £4,906 for each meeting Cllr Padmore has been to. Local government rules state councillors must attend at least one meeting every six months.
During the meeting, Councillor Chris Maines pointed out that Labour group leader Councillor Alan Hall had asked in February that Cllr Padmore's name be added to the attendance list of a full council meeting the previous month.
He told the meeting: "Either there was some collusion to ensure he wasn't disqualified by law or he was actually here and the officers didn't notice his signature."
Cllr Maines told News Shopper: "Cllr Padmore's pay per meeting rivals that of most city bankers for exploiting the public. He should either resign or pull his finger out."
Cllr Long's poor record has been partly blamed on her chairing of South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, for which she receives a salary of between £55,000 and £60,000.
But Cllr Maines said: "If she can't manage both, she's got to give one up."
"They should step down"
Both councillors' attendance has dropped since they were removed from high profile posts - Cllr Long as chairwoman of the council and Cllr Padmore as chairman of a planning committee.
Just last summer, Cllr Padmore was sent on equalities training by a standards committee for failing to treat others with respect.
And Cllr Long's attendance was also called into question in 2010 when News Shopper revealed she had not attended any of her safer stronger select committee meetings.
Resident Ben Farber, 25, of Edric Road said: "If these two can't improve their performance they should step down and make room for someone who can give New Cross the time it deserves."
Cllr Padmore was unavailable for comment - he did not answer his phone and his Lewisham Council email inbox was full.