Former Ashfield Council leader calls for successor to be disqualified from parish council role

A Labour councillor has called for Coun Jason Zadrozny to be disqualified from his position on the parish council in Ashfield they both sit on.

Thursday, 5th May 2022, 11:13 am

Coun Cheryl Butler, former Labour leader of Ashfield Council, says Coun Zadrozny has not attended any official meetings at Annesley and Felley Parish Council in the past six months and should therefore be disqualified for non-attendance.

Coun Zadrozny, current district council leader and also leader of the Independent Alliance at Nottinghamshire Council, dismissed this claim, saying that he had attended two committee meetings this year, on February 28 and March 4, via Zoom.

However, Coun Butler said this was not good enough and Zoom meetings did not count as attendance after The High Court ruled on April 28, 2021, virtual council meetings could not lawfully take place after May 6, 2021.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Coun Cheryl Butler says Coun Jason Zadrozny should be disqualified for non-attendance of meetings at Annesley & Felley Parish Council but Coun Zadrozny says this is not the case

Coun Butler, who lost her Kirkby Cross & Portland district council seat and role as leader in the 2019 elections, said: “Current regulations state ‘if a member of a local authority fails throughout a period of six consecutive months from the date of his last attendance to attend any meeting of the authority, he shall, unless the failure was due to some reason approved by the authority before the expiry of that period, cease to be a member of the authority’.

"Having checked the approved and agreed minutes on the parish council website, the councillor last attended a meeting on November 1 and no absence was approved by the council, as per the regulations.

"Six months from this date is May 1, 2022.

"Coun Zadrozny is therefore outside the six-month attendance rule. He should be disqualified and not allowed to take part in the annual general meeting on May 9.”

Were Coun Zadrozny to be disqualified from the council, a by-election would need to be held for his seat.

Coun Butler said: “Coun Zadrozny was very quick to slate the Labour Party, when a recent by-election was called after we had a councillor disqualified for various reasons, Covid among them, for six months non-attendance.

“Maybe he should keep his own house in order before trying to knock down others.

“I would have hoped he would have set a much better example to others than he has.

“And in any case, the meetings he attended were not committee meetings, they were working groups. Notes are possibly taken, but these are were not official meetings where minutes were taken to be approved.

"Online council meetings have not been allowed since May 7 last year, you had to attend in person, or put apologies in.

“Coun Zadrozny has given apologies, but they were not approved, there was no reason given.”

Replying, Coun Zadrozny said: “What Coun Butler is forgetting is I attended meetings on February 28 and March 4 this year and they were committee meetings and were virtual and she’s just not counted them, so she’s got her dates mixed up.

“She’s obviously counting physical meetings, but for a parish or any local council, for any non-formal, or committee or sub-committee meeting, we can still do them on Zoom or Teams and I attended them.”