Town mayor living 4,000 miles away

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Stapleford Town Council has defended its mayor after it was revealed he has been working 4,000 miles away in Saudi Arabia for the past six months.

Kevin Thomas, a Liberal Democrat councillor, was elected as mayor last May.

He works as an operations manager for one of the largest welfare to work companies in the country.

Mr Thomas said: ”I have attended some things but my commitments have taken me away. Since July, I have spent three weeks there and one week back here each month.

“At the time I was elected mayor, I did not know I was going to be working abroad. I was elected to represent the town and I can still do that from Saudi Arabia over the phone and via email.”

In his absence the deputy mayor, Ray Thomas, has been standing in at cheque presentations and school visits.

A statement on the town council’s website states: “ “In June of that year Councillor Thomas was directed by his employers to work on a short term contract in Saudi Arabia. It was agreed, following discussion with the leader of the town council and the deputy town mayor that should the need arise, during this period of employment that the deputy town mayor would be able to attend civic events as requested.”

Independent town councillor, Richard MacRae said: “You can’t honestly represent and help people when you’re living the other side of the world. He says he uses the phone and email but most people want to deal with their councillors face-to-face. People come to us as councillors for help, they don’t want to chat on the phone or via emails.”