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‘Parasite’ Cambridgeshire councillor in pay row as he refuses to take a 1.2 per cent drop in his allowance

By Josh Thomas, Local Democracy Reporter

A “parasite” Cambridgeshire councillor living 400 miles away from his ward has been slammed as a “blight on our democracy”.

It has emerged that Independent Donald Adey is the only member of the county council who will not give up 1.2 per cent of their pay this year in solidarity with workers who had the cut imposed on them.

Councillor Donald Adey. (7062671)
Councillor Donald Adey. (7062671)

All but one of Cambridgeshire’s county councillors will give up 1.2 per cent of their pay this year in solidarity with workers, but errant Trumpington councillor “disappearing Donald” Adey will be the only one to keep his full pay cheque.

Councillors get a basic allowance of £4,677 from the city council and more than £10,000 from the county council.

In October, Cambridgeshire County Council was labelled a “Grinch” when it was announced it was imposing three days of unpaid time off on council workers over the Christmas period.

Staff will have to take three days off without pay between Christmas and New Year, losing the equivalent of 1.2 per cent of their annual pay. The move helped the council plug a £5million hole in its budget.

Council leader Steve Count suggested councillors themselves should also have a 1.2 per cent reduction in their allowances in solidarity with council staff. This was put forward in a motion to full council, and agreed last year.

It has now been revealed that out of the council’s 61 councillors, 60 have agreed to a reduction in their allowances.

Donald Adey, dubbed “disappearing Donald” by colleagues, the councillor who hardly attends meetings, whose colleagues say does no work, and who has moved to live 400 miles away in Fife is the only councillor who will take home his full pay cheque. Coun Adey claims he does casework and can talk to people via Skype, but council colleagues say they are facing a backlog of work that he is not doing.

Coun Count said there was no point “bandying nice words” and said that what Coun Adey was doing is “wrong”.

“Coun Adey is a disgrace to the name councillor,” said Coun Count. “He is a real blight on our whole democracy. How he can continue to claim his allowances while pretending to represent people from almost 400 miles away is ridiculous.

“We need the government to make a change in the law so we can get rid of this parasite.”

All the other councillors either agreed to the pay reduction or volunteered to donate the difference to Unison in a bid to help people affected by the cuts. Three councillors made other arrangements, including making donations to local churches or parish councils.

Coun Adey represents the Trumpington ward on Cambridge City and Cambridgeshire County councils.

Councillors get a basic allowance of £4,677 from the city council and more than £10,000 from the county council – but Coun Adey has only attended a handful of meetings in the past few months, and often arrives late or leaves before the meetings have finished.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council said the council had tried to contact Coun Adey, but that he had so far made no reply or offered any explanation.

“Councillor Adey has so far made no voluntary contribution,” the spokeswoman said. “Democratic Services wrote to him, as he was not present at the meeting, to contact him on this but heard nothing.”

Currently, Coun Adey only has to attend one council meeting every six months to avoid being disqualified. As Coun Adey did not attend full council this week, it is understood he has to attend the next full meeting of Cambridgeshire County Council or he will be at risk of losing his seat.

Coun Count said he had explored ways of ousting Coun Adey, but repeated that there needs to be a change in the law before they can get rid of him.

Coun Adey has been contacted for comment.

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