Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lets all play runaround...

So lets see, a whole host of senior officers all decide to leave Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council within the period of about two years. Paul Kirkham left with a massive pay off, Ralph Ferguson left with a massive pay off, Dr Joan Rees the third most senior officer in the council then left closely followed by her number two Peter Ellis, both left with massive pay offs. Infact Peter Ellis was gone within a week.

Another senior officer Bob Barnes left shortly after that with a massive pay off.

Then the Chief Executive left, as soon as the Coatham Planning application was forced through, on a chronic sickness ticket only to turn up working for Cumbria County council a few months later? Maurice bates left after that. What is especially interesting with these two departures is that in Moores case, he was given a five year fixed term contract and he left after two and Maurice Bates was given a three year fixed term contract and he also left after two. In both cases their pensions were bumped up massively, Bates' pension grew by a whopping SIXTEEN PER CENT! In both cases the public are still paying for two people who have now left the council.

In both cases the fixed term contracts were arranged and signed off by the finance officer Ray Richardson who has also, most recently, left this council you guessed it.... with a massive pay off. He tried to leave last year to go to a council down in the South for what Cllr Peter Scott described as a career move. A career move? For a man who is of an age where retirement is obviously on his mind because well...he's just done it.

Then we have the Deputy Chief Executive Nick Matthews, being sacked and the whole issue going to an Employment tribunal for unfair dismissal, yet another in a long line of employment tribunals; Scanlon, Whittaker, Tait, Williams and others. None of which the council have won. And finally we have an ex-unison rep John McCormack, who was given a managerial position within the council after he played a part in getting dinner ladies to accept a pay award on behalf of management which was far less than what they were entitled to, being thrown out of the union for bringing it into disrepute because of his actions.

So we have nine of the most senior officers of this council all leaving the council which, at the time of their departure, was a four star authority? Why would so many of this councils most senior officers all want to leave an authority that had a four star and improving rating? Why would they not want to be a part of the huge success that they constantly tell the public that the council is? Because In truth, it isn't.
Richardson and Moore had supressed and replaced the audit report which showed that we weren't a four star authority at all and this council have behaved disgracefully at times illegally and so the people responsible have all deserted the sinking ship before they are all held accountable for the things that they have done.

So many senior officers all clamouring to get out and now we are informed by a council source, a tenth seems to have just disappeared? Yes, Christine Scott, an officer who's salary has quadrupled in five years. Each time her pay rise was signed off by her boss Ray Richardson, without there being any formal competition. Her salary apparantly rose from approximately £20,000 to over £70,000.

According to our Source Mrs Scott was the lady who signed off the final financial audit report that was then supressed by Richardson and Moore. What our source said is really interesting though, is that as soon as her boss Ray Richardson, retired two or three weeks ago, she went onto the sick with no-one hearing hide nor hair of her since?
Could it be that Mrs Scott now feels vulnerable? Now that the man who she replaced as 151 officer, when he was appointed acting Chief Executive, has left the council permanently? The timing of her illness and possible departure, certainly raises more questions, given that she has been privvy to possibly all of Ray Richardsons dubious actions within the council, in particular the supression of the final audit report.

But it doesn't stop there, this seemingly endless game of senior officers playing Runaround goes on. I mentioned Peter Ellis leaving the council within a week just before the local elections last year. Peter then found his way onto the board of Renew Tees Valley, a quango set up to try and regenerate the area. Now it seems that Renew Tees Vallley are becoming part of NEPIC, and through this union 'Our Peter' has made his way onto the board of none other than LEGI to be joined by his old council chums Dunning, Hannon and Clarke, making decisions once more about vast amounts of money being spent on this borough.

I wonder if any of the other officers who have left find their way back to this council in one way or another? It would seem that the gravy train and the back scratching, never ends for some?

As a post script, with the 151 officer and the deputy 151 officer now no longer in the council either permanently or temporarily, just who exactly is running our councils finances?

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