Committee chair earns £1,300 without attending a single Peterborough City Council meeting

A Peterborough city councillor received more than £1,300 for chairing a committee - despite not attending a single meeting.

Thursday, 24th January 2019, 3:05 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 6:55 pm
Cllr Mohammed Nadeem

Cllr Mohammed Nadeem resigned as chair of the Employment Committee in December having missed all three of its meetings. The Conservative member for North ward said he had been absent due to his parents’ ill health in Pakistan.

He added that he had fulfilled his other responsibilities to the “fullest” and had handed over all of the £1,380 Special Responsibility Allowance (SRA) he had received as chair to charity, although he did not specify which ones.

Cllr Nadeem was appointed to the role in May. He has also missed two out of three Full Council meetings in the same period. Dates for meetings are agreed months in advance.

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He said: “I have found it impossible to abandon (my parents) when they are in need of me the most. I would like to add that this is my third term in office and my attendance has always been excellent.”

Cllr Nadeem claimed several scheduled meetings he was available to attend had been cancelled last minute, and that his work as a councillor had not been affected from being abroad as he was in “regular contact with my constituents”.

His absences came to light from a motion submitted by Liberal Democrat Cllr Christian Hogg. The motion, which was due to be debated at Full Council last night, wants the council’s Standing Orders amended so committee chairs can be removed due to poor attendance, and be forced to return their SRAs.

Cllr Hogg said it was “not unreasonable” for committee chairs to stand down if they are unable to attend meetings.

He added: “If you’re not turning up to the meeting you’re not fully engaged.”

Council leader Cllr John Holdich, the committee’s vice chair, said Cllr Nadeem told him in December he needed to return to Pakistan again.

“I said ‘that’s not good enough, I’m going to have to take you off the committee’. He emailed back straight away saying ‘I will have to resign’.

“He acted honourably as soon as he could not make the meetings.” Cllr Holdich said it was “sad” the motion was “picking on” his fellow Tory.