This is the Visiter take. No mention of Dbbie Jones, but an interesting quote from Les Byrom
More chaos at Sefton Council as deputy chief executive is suspended
Nov 14 2007
by Jamie McLoughlin and Robert Alcock, Midweek Visiter
SEFTON Council’s deputy chief executive has been suspended.
The step to order Alan Moore’s leave of office – to allow an investigation into an allegation of misconduct to take place – was taken by the authority’s chief executive, Graham Haywood, and was confirmed to the three party leaders on the hung council in a confidential note on Monday.
The shock news follows the revelation that the decision by Labour and Tory Sefton councillors last month to offer Mr Haywood “early retirement and redundancy” was “unconstitutional”, according to a senior lawyer’s report.
It also comes less than a fortnight after claims by Southport’s MP, John Pugh – reported exclusively by the Visiter and not officially responded to by Sefton Council – that the relationship between the chief executive and his deputy had become “fraught”.
Yesterday, Councillor Tony Robertson, the Liberal Democrat leader of Sefton Council, confirmed the suspension of Mr Moore, who holds the position of director of regeneration and environmental services, as well as being deputy chief executive.
Cllr Robertson said the note from Mr Haywood “did not go into details about what the issues are” .
But he added: “It does involve AN Other (a third party) and clearly the chief executive feels that he needs to ensure that this situation is fully investigated.”
The council leader continued: “Where this is going to take us I really do not know. But I understand that because of the sensitivity of it, the chief executive did consult the district auditor (of the Government’s watchdog, the Audit Commission) before he took the course of action that he did.”
Mr Moore’s post was one that escaped ‘deletion’ in a stormy council meeting last month over cuts to the town hall top brass.
The Liberal Democrats went to an independent QC – whose report has now been issued – such was their discontent over that and the decision to offer Mr Haywood a package to leave his post by March 31 next year.
Cllr Paula Parry, Conservative group leader, said she did not wish to comment on Mr Moore’s suspension, other than to remind that “nobody is guilty until proven”.
Her predecessor as leader of Sefton’s Tories, Dukes Ward councillor Les Byrom, said: “I will be waiting and watching, as will the rest of the council, to see what on earth is happening.”
No-one from the leadership of Sefton’s Labour group was available for comment as the Midweek Visiter went to press.
A council spokesman said: “An allegation of misconduct is being considered and, in accordance with the agreed procedures, the member of staff has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation. The suspension is a normal precautionary procedure in this situation and there is a presumption of innocence until the matter has been investigated and considered by the council. We will not be commenting further.”