Deptford councillor Joseph Folorunso resigned earlier this week, days before he would have been kicked off the council due to his appalling attendance record.
The Labour Councillor has not been seen at any Council meetings since August last year. His email inbox is full and he has been unreachable by phone for a number of months meaning the concerns of many local residents in Evelyn ward have gone unheard.
It is understood that the former Councillor left the UK to run an orphanage in Togo some months ago and whilst this is no doubt commendable work, he has continued to claim his full allowance as a Lewisham Councillor, despite being on a different continent and failing to carry out the basic duties he was elected to do. This is in direct contrast to former Lib Dem Councillor Pete Pattisson who resigned immediately upon taking up a teaching post in India last year.
The Lewisham Lib Dems are therefore calling on Mr Folorunso to pay back his £10,000 allowance to the Save Lewisham Hospital Legal Challenge Fund so that residents can at least get something back from his time as a Councillor.
Commenting on Mr Folorunso’s resignation, Lib Dem group leader Cllr Chris Maines said:
“The former Councillor has not been living in the United Kingdom for most of the last year and residents have been unable to contact him, yet he has had no problem collecting his £9,812 allowance, paid for by the people of Lewisham.
“I understand that people’s lives change, but if they are unable to discharge their basic duties as a Councillor, they should resign and allow someone else to take over the workload.
“This is the second Labour Councillor in Lewisham this year who has failed to attend meetings or properly represent their constituents whilst claiming their full council allowance, and yet again the Lewisham Labour party have failed to condemn this behaviour.
“These absent Councillors are treating local people with contempt: happy to receive nearly £10,000 per year and doing little, if any, work in return. I believe the Labour Party should be ashamed, yet they seem happy to sweep this under the rug and allow their Councillors to ignore residents and leave them without the representation they need.
“I sincerely hope that the Lewisham Labour party will join our call for former Councillor Folorunso to donate the allowance he has received while absent to the Lewisham Hospital Legal Challenge Fund.”
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