The decision to only suspend Alan Donnelly, taken by a Standards Commission panel, has been met with outright anger.
The Torry and Ferryhill councillor – who will resume duty in March after being handed a backdated year-long ban – has faced calls to resign since his conviction for sexual assault.
Opponents had hoped the watchdog would remove him from office and made no secret at their disgust at the reasoning shared for not doing so.
During the hearing, panel chairwoman highlighted Donnelly had not before been referred to the commission in his 13-year career.
She there was no evidence the sex attack at a civic event, while he was depute provost, was “anything but a one-off incident”.
This was rounded on by Aberdeen South SNP MP Stephen Flynn, who promptly sought clarification from Kevin Dunion, the convener of the Standards Commission.
Mr Flynn wrote: “I have had countless representations from constituents since the day of his conviction expressing profound concern that a convicted sex offender had retained their role as a city councillor.
“As a former councillor I explained that this was a matter for the Standards Commission.
“I have publicly expressed my frustration at the length of time it has taken to address the situation and, like my constituents, I am utterly dismayed that a decision has been taken not to remove a convicted sex offender from elected office.
“Moreover, I was utterly appalled to hear that part of the reasoning as to why only a year’s suspension was to be imposed was due to this being a ‘one-off’ incident.
“Given this choice of words, I would appreciate immediate clarity as to how many convictions for sexual assault the Standards Commission deems necessary before a councillor be disqualified from their role?
“In addition, I would appreciate immediate clarity as to what advice you feel I should provide to my constituents who are concerned that a convicted sex offender will continue to represent them on Aberdeen City Council?”
Councillor Ian Yuill, the leader of the Liberal Democrat group, told The P&J he had been contacted by an unbelievable number of citizens, outraged Donnelly would remain on the council’s payroll through his ban.
He said: “Alan Donnelly’s suspension for a year is a further damning indictment of his disgraceful behaviour in committing a sexual assault.
“People have already been in touch with me to say they have been shocked to learn that Mr Donnelly will continue to receive full pay whilst he is suspended.
“There cannot be many other jobs where you can continue to be paid in full whilst suspended for disgraceful and criminal behaviour like that committed by Mr Donnelly.
“If he had any decency, Alan Donnelly would have resigned as a councillor when he was found guilty of sexual assault last December.
“The Liberal Democrats once again call on Mr Donnelly to resign so the people of Torry and Ferryhill can be properly and fully represented on the council.
“Mr Donnelly’s resignation might also help bring closure for the person all too often overlooked – Mr Donnelly’s victim.”
Having seen his solicitor-advocate leave the hearing after failing to have it adjourned, Mr Donnelly told The P&J: “I am disappointed that my solicitor was not able to put forward my position at the hearing .
“I will be reflecting upon the decision with my solicitor on Monday and will make no further comment until after that meeting.”