An SNP councillor who resigned from her job at scandal-hit Donside MSP Mark McDonald’s office has been accused of “double dipping” the taxpayer’s purse after she found work with another senior nationalist just a month later.
Dyce, Bucksburn and Danestone councillor Gill Samarai had worked for Mr McDonald from September 2013 until earlier this year.
But after the allegations emerged that he had sent “inappropriate” messages to a woman – resulting in him eventually quitting the SNP and continuing as an independent MSP – Ms Samari began working for Aberdeen North MP Kirsty Blackman. Her register of interests shows she stopped working for Mr McDonald on March 23, and started employment as a caseworker for Aberdeen North MP Kirsty Blackman on May 1.
There is nothing unusual about councillors working for MSPs and MPs – currently there are five other SNP councillors doing the same while Conservative councillor Ryan Houghton is employed by Aberdeen South MP Ross Thomson.
But Douglas Lumsden, the Tory co-leader of Aberdeen City Council, last night raised concerns about the recruitment process itself.
He said: “It’s a poor show, because at the end of the day it’s the taxpayer that is paying for these positions, positions which no one else gets a fair shot at.
“It’s not the first time of course. Callum McCaig lost his Westminster seat and was suddenly a special adviser to Nicola Sturgeon.
“And Councillor Stephen Flynn, in charge of the audit and scrutiny committee, was suddenly working for Maureen Watt MSP when Callum McCaig MP lost his seat – and now we’ve got the same with Gill Samurai swapping from Mark McDonald MSP to Kirsty Blackman MP.”
However Mr Flynn, the city council’s SNP group leader, said criticising Ms Samarai was “gutter politics”.
He said: “Councillor Samarai justifiably left her previous role due to feeling uncomfortable that her employer had engaged in a manner which has seen him banned from the Scottish Parliament.
“For a man who earns nearly £40,000 to therefore attack her for seeking to supplement a £17,000 salary, by taking on a part-time role as a caseworker supporting those most vulnerable in Aberdeen, is the absolute pits of gutter politics.”