05:56PM, Tuesday 10 July 2018
The former top lawyer of Slough Borough Council (SBC) was accused of ‘malicious gossip’ after expressing concerns about an appointment to the council’s appeal panel, a tribunal has heard.
Amardip Healy, who left the council in July 2017, has accused the council of unfair dismissal and discrimination and has taken it to a tribunal, which started in Reading last week.
The tribunal heard today (Tuesday) that in May 2017, Mrs Healy sent an email expressing objections about SBC’s interim-chief executive Roger Parkin’s appointment of Neil Wilcox, the council’s then assistant director of finance, to an internal appeal panel.
Mrs Healy had been suspended in March following disciplinary allegations made about her.
The court heard how Mrs Healy asked if Mr Wilcox was suitable for the appeal panel role, pointing out that he had not worked as a local government employee for over twenty years before starting at the council in Autumn 2016.
She said Mr Wilcox would be ineligible for some local government positions because he had been part of a failed business and was therefore susceptible to bribery, the tribunal heard.
In an email to Mike England, the council’s strategic director of regeneration, housing and resources, deputy monitoring officer Hugh Peart said Mrs Healy’s claims were ‘malicious gossip’.
Giving evidence, he said it was malicious to suggest Mr Willcox was susceptible to bribery because of his business affairs.
He also asked why Mrs Healy questioned the competence and suitability of the other panel members.
Representing Mrs Healy, Oliver Hyams asked Mr Peart why he did not offer to meet with his client as part of an investigation into the matter, after she said she had a range of documentation about it.
“Isn’t it the case that you didn’t take it seriously because it was the claimant who made the allegation?” he asked.
Mr Peart said he investigated the matter ‘thoroughly’ and did everything necessary before reaching his conclusion that the appointment was not improper.
Mr Hymas told the tribunal that Roger Parkin had offered Mrs Healy a new job as deputy chief executive in return for ‘improper support’.
He told the hearing that his client claimed Mr Parkin offered Mr Wilcox a new job so he would ‘owe him one’.
The hearing continues.
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