By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter
Disgraced Ashfield politician Councillor Tom Hollis has not been sacked from his senior cabinet position on Ashfield District Council despite being convicted twice in court last week.
The Ashfield Independents councillor, 29, was found guilty of harassment without violence and careless driving a week ago after two separate trials over four days at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court.
The trials related to separate incidents in 2020, firstly in May and the second in September, with Cllr Hollis found guilty of both offences.
He will be sentenced next month.
Earlier this week Cllr Jason Zadrozny (Ash Ind), leader of the council, dismissed Cllr Hollis from his role as deputy leader of the authority.
It was also widely expected that the disgraced councillor would be removed from his role as cabinet member for social housing.
However, no such action has been taken and Cllr Zadrozny has confirmed the convicted councillor remains on his cabinet.
Members of the authority’s cabinet receive a £12,238 special responsibility allowance for holding the roles, paid for by Ashfield taxpayers.
Cllr Hollis has lost his additional £3,091 allowance after being sacked as deputy leader but will receive a pro-rata portion of his cabinet allowance between now and the October 13 sentencing date.
And Cllr Zadrozny has suggested that, depending on Hollis’ sentencing, this could continue through until the May 2023 local elections.
Speaking after a full council meeting on Thursday (September 29), Cllr Zadrozny told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “We’re halfway through a really important job of work delivering council houses.
“He’s the partner with Homes England. It’s more important than politics that we get those 130 social housing units delivered and, unless sentencing stops that, I think he needs to finish that body of work.
“Then, whether he decides to put himself up for election or not, he can put himself in front of residents in Huthwaite.
“It’s a tough call but, in this case, I want that job finished.”
When asked if he is happy to have a convicted criminal acting on behalf of the council with Homes England, he added: “Boris Johnson stood by people, the Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner was convicted of five counts of speeding.
“You have to take the proportionality of it. Of course, I accept his verdict and I accept he’s chosen not to appeal it – which is what moved my decision.
“But, given what the offences were, that they were two years ago and that we’re not talking about a massive fraudster or a sex offender, a murder, I have to take these decisions proportionally.
“In the good of delivering for the 7,000 people on our council waiting lists, I needed Tom to finish the job he’s started.”
Earlier this week, Cllr Hollis had suggested he will be taking a back seat approach while he takes time to assess whether he wants to remain in elected office.
Now, however, Cllr Zadrozny’s comments confirm Cllr Hollis will continue to work in a cabinet position during this period, rather than just “[sticking] to my constituency work”.
Cllr Hollis did not attend either the cabinet meeting on Tuesday (September 27) or the full council meeting on Thursday evening.
Speaking on Monday, Cllr Hollis told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “I’m going to stick to my constituency work for a couple of weeks.
“I probably won’t be attending meetings either because I will be a distraction. I will be considering where I want to go in the future during this time.
“I need to think about where I want to go moving forwards. I care about what I do and I’m upset about losing the deputy leadership, but I understand actions do have consequences.”
Hollis remains an Ashfield Independent councillor for Huthwaite and Brierley on Ashfield District Council, and for Sutton West on Nottinghamshire County Council.
Unless he steps down or is given any form of prison sentence, he can continue in elected office until his terms end in 2023 and 2025 respectively.
He has been replaced as deputy leader of the council by Cllr David Martin (Ash Ind), the current portfolio holder for finance.