11:00AM, Sunday 10 September 2017
A Slough Borough Councillor has accused the authority of ‘nepotism’ and said there is a conflict of interest in the council’s monitoring and reporting processes.
The concerns were raised in emails seen by the Express after the head of legal services Amardip Healy resigned in July.
Before she left, Mrs Healy lodged a grievance in March against interim chief executive Roger Parkin, interim monitoring officer Linda Walker and interim director of housing, regeneration and resources, Mike England, as a result of alleged behaviour towards her.
However her complaint was investigated by SBC’s deputy monitoring officer Hugh Peart, who was appointed to his role by Mrs Walker.
Both work for public sector legal practice – HB Law – where Mrs Walker is a director.
On July 19 Mrs Healy received the following response: “The complaint was properly investigated and Mr Peart concluded that none of the complaints warranted any action.
“It is denied that any of the complaints warranted the suspension of Mr Parkin or Mrs Walker.”
In one email councillor Diana Coad (UKIP, Langley St Mary's) said: “Clearly there are very serious conflicts of interest here and nepotism.”
Mrs Healy is taking SBC to an employment tribunal in July next year.
Another email alleges that HB Law are also handling the tribunal on behalf of SBC.
Cllr Coad later added: “They tried to gag us because of the tribunal but I said you can’t defend the indefensible.
“I’m sick to death of being a councillor on a council where the good people are afraid to speak out and the bad are just in it for themselves.”
Conservative group leader Cllr Wayne Strutton (Haymill and Lynch Hill) said: “I’m concerned that someone who is being investigated has employed someone from her own company, but we will have to wait until the hearing.”
A spokeswoman for SBC confirmed: “HB Law are advising on individual matters relating to the council.”
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