A VACANCY on Saddleworth Parish Council is yet to be filled after Cllr Derek Heffernan turned down the option to return.
Cllr Heffernan, 78, was disqualified from the Parish Council last month for failing to obtain council approval for his absence from meetings for six consecutive months.
Liberal Democrat Cllr Heffernan believed his verbal apology to the Parish Council’s clerk last year covered his on-going absence as he struggled with ill health.
However, as no formal apology was sent in writing and approved by the council, Cllr Heffernan has lost his seat representing the Springhead Higher ward.
As no poll was claimed and no by-election was called by the public within 14 days, the Lib Dems on the Parish Council have the right to co-opt someone into the role until elections next May.
Cllr Alan Belmore, leader of the Lib Dems on the Parish Council, explained they offered the role back to Cllr Heffernan, who still serves on Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council.
He explained: “It was my hope to re-propose Derek as I believe his 31 years of service make him the best person for the position.
“I am pleased to say he has had his hip operation now and the physiotherapy is improving his health substantially.
“Having spoken to Derek I understand that he does not want to take up the position again. He told me he feels the Parish Council has done him an injustice.”
Now the Lib Dems are approaching other candidates and will choose one to propose for the position, with the council to vote on the appointment before their Annual General Meeting in May.
The Independent reported previously that Cllr Heffernan believed no other councillor had been removed from Saddleworth Parish Council for an attendance breach.
However, the Parish Council has pointed out that their meeting minutes from January 1997 record that Cllr Mrs Pat Graham was disqualified for “lack of attendance” over six consecutive months.