S2
Thursday, 25 May 2017
SBC
Index
Thursday, 27 April 2017
Exclusive
Updated 29 April 2017

Councillors condemn top lawyer's suspension

Criticism of chief executive and Leader increases

Report: Paul Janik

There is growing hostility to the contentious decision to suspend much admired top council lawyer Amardip Healy.

The action by temporary chief executive Roger Parkin, nick-named Biscuit by his critics, is puzzling especially after Council Leader Sohail Munawar previously told the Slough Times Amardip Healy, the council's Head of Legal for the last 5 years, was his right hand.

Two months after Mrs Healy's unexplained suspension there is no active council investigation into Mrs Healy's alleged crimes.

Some say Mrs Healy was a potential contender for the chief executive's job, even though Mr Parkin desperately wants that rôle.

It is rumoured the chief executive's job advertisement remains unpublished despite the vacancy existing since November 2016, according to previous chief executive Ruth Bagley's Linked-In web page.

Public concerns

Trevor Allen, a former hard-working Wexham Parish Council councillor, and for many years a senior Slough Labour Party official, told the Slough Times:

I have dealt with Amardip Healy on a number of occasions and found her to be extremely helpful.

It is appalling she is out of the scene and no one appears to know why. Whatever the situation is, it needs resolving urgently.

Slough Council can not continue having so many problems at senior level. It reflects badly on our town.

Mrs Healy made people feel at ease. She is a dyed-in-the-wool professional lawyer. She is a very nice person. We are getting less and less of that.

Sandra ('Sandy') Malik, a former Slough Councillor and a former Wexham Parish Councillor revealed to the Slough Times her worries about the status quo:

I have nothing but praise for Amardip Healy.

She always welcomed me in her office and always had time for me. She was totally fair and totally professional. She is 100% plus.

From outside the council, it looks like there is a power struggle within the council. It does reflect very badly on our town.

We are supposed to be an up-and-coming town, so we should be doing a lot better than that.

I wish Mrs Healy well and hope she will return to her job as quickly as possible. Everyone misses her.

Formidable ex-Council Leader Richard Stokes, 23 years a Slough councillor, has being following the perplexing matter.

Statement pending

Councillor Diana Coad, UKIP, St Mary's ward, Langley, said:-

It is utterly appalling.

In Amardip Healy we have lost a professional, knowledgeable, caring, imaginative, sound and dedicated officer.

What a loss to Slough Borough Council and why? That is the most worrying aspect of this.

I am deeply disappointed, yet again, with the behaviour of certain people at Slough Borough Council.

The French say it perfectly, La plus ça change, la plus c'est la même chose meaning the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Council staff comment

A long serving council insider, with considerable experience of Slough Council hanky-panky, exclusively told the Slough Times:

Talented and honest people are a threat to the corrupt and incompetent, of whom there are far too many in the council. It is not the rubbish that gets pushed out of the door...

To quote one jaded senior manager 'We strive for mediocrity and can't even achieve that'.

Mediocre staff are the most valued by the council.

Poor performers are tolerated.

Talented staff are bullied and pushed out, especially if they have aspirations to improve council services and performance; or, if they bring to light wrongdoing and posing a threat to the rubbish at the top. The top are terrified of bad publicity, although I cannot understand why when most of the local press (Slough Express and Slough Obsever) is extremely lenient with them.

Amadip Healy is generally liked and respected. She is also seen as highly competent at her job.

Slough Council refuses to comment

Slough Unitary Authority, the official name for the council since 1998, is unwilling to comment. Consequently there is no explanation or justification for the actions of just three people at the top of the council, two staff and the chief councillor.

The Slough Times wonders how this example of June 2016's promised transparency and accountability is going to reassure the public and impress businesses who may wish to invest in our borough.