The only UKIP councillor at Lichfield District Council admits he is embarrassed by his attendance record – but says his resignation will make sure the taxpayer gets value for money.
John Mills stepped down after it emerged he had attended just 45% of meetings since May 2016 – the lowest figure of any member of the local authority.
UKIP claimed their first council seat in 2015 after Mr Mills took second place in the Fazeley ward behind Conservative representative Olivia Joy Shepherd.
But a by-election now looms after the former councillor admitted he had been “naive” to assume he could combine his role with his full-time shift work.
“I am extremely embarrassed and sorry that my attendance levels have been so poor,” he told LichfieldLive. “But I have been struggling to reconcile my council duties with my shift work patterns.
“I work as part of a three-man team in a small department and although I have booked time off to attend meetings and training sessions – I took six days off last year – it is not possible to book enough days off to cover all of the council meetings, scrutiny committee meetings and training sessions. This is the main reason that my attendance levels are poor.
“In addition to this, in June of last year I was in Cyprus on a family holiday on the days that a council meeting and an overview and scrutiny committee took place.
“I am truly sorry for my poor attendance record but I was possibly a little naive to not realise that council work and shift work do not marry up well.”
Although admitting he was disappointed to have to stand down, he felt it was the right thing to do for local residents.
“I believe that I was not fulfilling my councillor responsibilities or giving the taxpayer value for money, so I thought it only right for me to step aside and allow someone else who can allocate the required time the opportunity to represent the residents of Fazeley ward.
“I am extremely saddened to take this action, but it was either resign or continue to miss many meetings.”