12:00PM, Friday 12 August 2016
Accusations of a ‘culture of self-protection’ have been levelled at Slough Borough Council (SBC) after it refused to identify a senior member of staff due to appear before a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday.
A document about the meeting, which the press and public are part excluded from, states that either the chief finance officer, monitoring officer or head of paid service will go before the panel where they could either be dismissed or face disciplinary action.
It also states the panel will ‘arrange for the investigation of the matter’ and ‘make recommendations to council in relation to the ‘dismissal of the relevant officer’.
But it does not disclose why the unidentified officer is facing a disciplinary hearing. Following investigations by the Express, it is understood the officer is Ruth Bagley, SBC’s head of paid service and also the council’s chief executive.
But SBC refused to comment on who was facing disciplinary action.
A spokeswoman said: “Slough Borough Council is not prepared to discuss matters affecting individual members of staff, as the matters are confidential.”
News that a meeting which discusses the potential dismissal of a senior council official will take place behind closed doors has led to critcism from both councillors and
Cllr Wayne Strutton (Con, Haymill and Lynch Hill), said: “No one knows what is happening.
“If there is something going on within the council, especially with a senior member of staff involved, councillors should be informed.
“At the moment there is a culture of self-protection which is totally undemocratic.”
Ms Bagley was absent from the last full council meeting on Tuesday, July 26.
An email sent to councillors by Roger Parkin, whose job title in the email is signed ‘interim CEO’, on Monday, July 25 stated she ‘was off sick’ and ‘would be well enough to return later in August’.
A number of other councillors refused to comment on the meeting when approached by the Express.
SBC confirmed the email had been sent but stated Ms Bagley ‘remained chief executive’ and Mr Parkin is ‘acting chief executive while she is away’.
The Colnbrook Community Association has also criticised the council on social media tweeting ‘the electorate surely had the right to know’ who would be sitting in front of the panel.
The meeting is due to take place at St Martins Place in Bath Road at 10.30am.
Closures are planned on the M4 between Langley and the M25 this weekend for smart motorway works.