OPPOSITION councillors are seeking an investigation into the prolonged absence of Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson’s office manager.
Richard Farnell, the former head of Liverpool council’s press office, has been absent from work due to ill health since the summer of 2012.
He was elected as a Labour councillor in Rochdale in May and is a member of the borough’s cabinet with a 90% attendance record.
Liverpool Liberal Democrat deputy leader Cllr Tom Morrison has written to the city council’s chief executive Ged Fitzgerald asking for an investigation into the matter.
Cllr Morrison’s letter states: “It has been brought to my attention that Richard Farnell, head of the Mayor's Office has been on sick leave for some time now.
“Obviously the health of LCC employees must be a priority and I am glad that the organisation is so understanding about this matter.
“Yet I am concerned that Mr Farnell has an exemplary attendance record in his duties as councillor for Balderstone and Kirkholt in Rochdale.
“I would appreciate it if you could look into this matter with the utmost urgency and inform me of what action will be taken.”
A friend of Mr Farnell’s told the ECHO that he was suffering with a chronic condition and had been signed off work by a number of doctors.
The source said he was now only being paid statutory sick pay due to the length of the absence.
They said he had been encouraged to remain active but that working an eight hour day at Liverpool council was out of the question.
The source said: “Being able to attend meetings at Rochdale council, which he can leave if he is in too much pain, has been very helpful for Richard. I suspect he would have been very depressed by now had he not had that.”
Mr Farnell said he was unable to comment because of the terms of his employment with Liverpool council.
A Liverpool council spokesman said: “We do not comment on confidential personnel matters regarding individual members of staff.”