Large turnover of se­nior staff at au­thor­ity

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - NEWS - By Joel Lamy [email protected]­me­ Twit­ter: @PTJoelLamy

Peter­bor­ough’s may­oral au­thor­ity has had 12 peo­ple run five of its most se­nior roles since its in­cep­tion a lit­tle un­der two years ago.

The Cam­bridgeshire and Peter­bor­ough Com­bined Au­thor­ity (CA) was cre­ated in March 2017 to de­liver ma­jor trans­port and in­fra­struc­ture pro­jects across the county, but lately it has been in the news for its turnover of se­nior staff.

The lat­est devel­op­ment last Fri­day saw the sack­ing of the fifth per­son to hold the role of chief fi­nance of­fi­cer after he was ac­cused of mak­ing “mis­lead­ing” state­ments about the fund­ing of ma­jor pro­jects at a scru­tiny meet­ing four days ear­lier.

Karl Fen­lon, who had filled the role on an in­terim ba­sis, had cast doubt on whether the Univer­sity of Peter­bor­ough could be achieved within the au­thor­ity’s bud­get.

Mr Palmer, who has de­nied the univer­sity project is at risk, said he had to “have faith” in his of­fi­cers and that this had not been the case with Mr Fen­lon.

But his dis­missal an­gered coun­cil­lors on the au­thor­ity’s au­dit and ac­counts com­mit­tee, with one, Cllr Antony Ma­son, say­ing he was “gob­s­macked” and “dis­turbed” when he heard the news.

Mr Fen­lon will re­ceive a month’s salary of ap­prox­i­mately £12,500 with­out hav­ing to work an­other day as a re­sult of his dis­missal.

The Peter­bor­ough Tele­graph can now re­veal his re­moval as fi­nance chief means the CA is look­ing for a 13th per­son to fill one of the five most im­por­tant roles at the pub­lic body. There has been:

One per­ma­nent chief • ex­ec­u­tive and two peo­ple who have shared the role as in­ter­ims.

One per­ma­nent di­rec­tor

• of strat­egy and plan­ning

Two in­terim di­rec­tors

of trans­port

One di­rec­tor of busi­ness

• and skills

Three tem­po­rar­ily sec­onded

• chief fi­nance of­fi­cers and two in­ter­ims.

Peter­bor­ough city coun­cil­lor Ed Mur­phy, who sits on the CA’s over­view and scru­tiny com­mit­tee, said the pub­lic body is “ex­pen­sive and un­nec­es­sary”.

He added: “A com­pe­tent of­fi­cer was sacked for telling the truth about the per­ilous state of the spend­ing plans.”

Mr Fen­lon was of­fi­cially dis­missed at 9am last Fri­day, but the Peter­bor­ough Tele­graph was in­formed he had left his role at 7.30am.

Mayor Palmer has faced heavy crit­i­cism after the de­par­ture of former CA chief ex­ec­u­tive Mar­tin White­ley, who it was re­vealed through Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quests had re­ceived a pay­out of £94,500 de­spite the mayor in­sist­ing he had re­signed.

The pay­out was awarded after the mayor had un­der­taken more than £11,000 of in­de­pen­dent le­gal ad­vice.

Karl Fen­lon

Mayor Palmer and Mar­tin White­ley

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