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Convicted councillor reinstated as leader six months after sacking

Tom Hollis has been reappointed as deputy leader of Ashfield District Council six months after being sacked from the role for receiving two criminal convictions.

Cllr Hollis (Ash Ind), who represents Huthwaite and Brierley on the authority, was convicted following two trials at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court last autumn.

He was found guilty of separate charges of harassment without violence and careless driving following incidents which took place in 2020.

At the time of his convictions, Cllr Hollis was the serving deputy leader as well as the cabinet member responsible for housing.

However, he was removed as deputy leader by Cllr Jason Zadrozny (Ash Ind), the authority’s leader, who said at the time Cllr Hollis’ position was “no longer tenable”.

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But now Cllr Hollis has been reappointed as one of Cllr Zadrozny’s deputies following the group’s landslide 32-seat local election victory earlier this month.

Cllr Hollis was also made cabinet member for strategic housing and climate change at the full council meeting on Thursday (May 25).

Speaking after being reinstated, Cllr Hollis said: “I accept I’ve made mistakes, I really do and frankly, who in life doesn’t make mistakes?

“When you’re in my role it comes with the scrutiny and rightly so, but there’s a job still do to.

“I chose to stand again and the nice conversations I’ve had with people and the fact people in Huthwaite re-elected me – despite everyone knowing what had happened – speaks for itself.”

He was one of seven cabinet members from the previous administration to retain their seat on the council’s executive, including leader Cllr Zadrozny.

Cllr Helen-Ann Smith, who is also a deputy leader, continues as the cabinet member responsible for community safety and crime reduction.

Cllr John Wilmott, who represents Hucknall North, stays on the cabinet and will run the governance portfolio.

Cllr Rachel Madden, who previously held the leisure portfolio, is now the cabinet member responsible for finance, revenue and benefits.

Cllr Matt Relf continues in his role as cabinet member for growth, regeneration and local planning.

And Cllr Samantha Deakin also stays on the cabinet as portfolio holder for parks and environmental services.

New additions to the cabinet include Cllr Andy Meakin, who takes on the portfolio of social housing and assets.

Cllr Christopher Huskinson, who won election to the Greenwood and Summit ward, takes on the portfolio of leisure, health and wellbeing.

And new Cllr Vicki Heslop, of the Central Sutton and New Cross ward, will control the customer and digital experience portfolio.

Speaking in the meeting, council leader Cllr Zadrozny said of his new team: “I will work with you to be the change you want to see.

“There’s so much more left to do but there’s no people on earth I’d rather finish that job with.

“The next four years will be a rollercoaster and it all starts tonight, so strap in.”

The meeting also saw Cllr Dale Grounds (Ash Ind), who represents Kingsway, appointed as council chairman for the coming year.

Cllr Arnie Hankin (Ash Ind), who represents Selston and served as council chairman for the 2021/22 financial year, was appointed as his deputy.

And two ‘political assistant’ jobs were also continued for the coming four years after previously being created in 2020.

The roles, previously labelled by the opposition as “jobs for the boys”, were created following Government legislation to support the largest political groups on the authority.

One role is 37 hours supporting the 32 Ashfield Independent councillors elected onto the authority on May 4.

The second role, of 7.4 hours per week, was appointed to support the two Conservative councillors as the largest opposition group.

However, Cllr Phil Rostance (Con) confirmed his group will not take up the offer and the two Tory and one Labour councillors voted against the roles.

Last year Cll Hollis was replaced as deputy leader by Cllr David Martin (Ash Ind) until the local election on May 4.

The election saw Cllr Martin, who is also a county councillor for Selston, lose his district Underwood seat to Cllr Dawn Justice (Con).

Cllr Hollis, however, was re-elected by his Huthwaite and Brierley residents, albeit with a reduced vote share.

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