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Using technology is a choice and not a rule, a Burntwood councillor has said.
Cllr Darren Ennis made his comments ahead of a meeting which will decide whether his Labour colleague Cllr Bernard Brown can continue in his role after being unable to attend any meetings since the coronavirus crisis began.
A number of meetings have been moved online, but a report has revealed that the Summerfield and All Saints ward representative is “not able to use IT equipment” to participate.
Councillors will vote at a meeting of Lichfield District Council tomorrow (14th July) to decide whether to allow an extension to an attendance rule which would see him disqualified in September if he does not attend any meetings.
Cllr Ennis said that Cllr Brown – who does not have a contact email address listed on the local authority’s website – was still available for residents to get in touch by phone.
“Councils need to be diverse, have councillors of all age and Bernard is our oldest.
“He is still on the end of the phone – Lichfield District Council works beyond emails and you can phone every department.
“Bernard is one of three councillors to represent that ward. If you need to email one then there are another two.
“Using IT is a choice, it is not a rule. On the Councillor application page it doesn’t say ‘you must have the internet, your must come to online meeting in case of a pandemic’.
“These are exceptional times.”Cllr Darren Ennis, Lichfield District Council
Cllr Ennis added the Cllr Brown’s attendance record pre-coronavirus showed why he should be granted the extension to the six month disqualification rule.
“Bernard is an excellent councillor and an asset to Burntwood and Lichfield.
“All of his work around the area and the representation before COVID-19 is exemplary.
“Once COVID-19 is done and Bernard is back out and about he will carry on attending 100% of his meetings and helping the people in his ward.”Cllr Darren Ennis, Lichfield District Council