Many of our readers have asked us to comment on this week’s Wirral Council meeting of the Audit & Risk Management Committee which discussed the fall out from the Stewart Halliday scandal , the full gory story you can read in our Halliday Archive.
To be honest we couldn’t bring ourselves to watch the webcast or read the ‘Journo-Come-Lately’ local press reports because as we commented in our Wirral Leaks : Past,Present,Future post this is perhaps the story that frustrates us more than any other we have covered. Is it the most compelling and appalling case of institutional corruption at Wirral Council ? No, that’ll be ‘Wirralgate’ episode. Nevertheless it has been the one story more than any other story that makes us want to repeatedly do this :
However you kept plying us with excerpts and quotes and like the moth’s great imperfection we find ourselves succumbing to the fatal charm of the Wirral Council flame. The quote we were particularly drawn to was the title of the post uttered by Wirral CEO Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson. And what a quote it is – somehow summing up the well, ‘feebleness’ , of Wirral Council ‘management’ team and elected member ‘scrutiny’.
Robinson’s sly blaming of ‘junior staff’ for a situation where someone like Halliday can nearly QUADRUPLE his income at Wirral Council having left his previous employer not so much under a cloud but a tornado of unanswered questions and evasions of responsibility was a new low in the cowardly history of Wirral Council. Especially when Wirral Leaks readers will know our very own City of York correspondent, the indomitable Charles Nunn, had written to Stressed Eric appraising him of the genuine concerns about Halliday that were emerging from across the Pennines. Remember this wasn’t an employer/employee relationship where termination of employment is fraught with legal complications. Halliday was initially employed as a (highly paid) consultant. When failures of due diligence became apparent it would have been legitimate to tell Halliday ‘off you pop’ – but no this is Wirral Council where throwing good money after bad has been turned into an art form. Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson misses the point by a country mile when he says the infamous episode has caused him and Wirral Council ’embarrassment’. Robinson seems to think that ‘taking responsibility’ is the same as ‘accountability’.
No, sweetheart what happened here (and which was completely avoidable) cost Wirral council taxpayers a shedload of money. But then again it’s not your money so what’s a little ’embarrassment’ between you and your bank account?!
Memo to Eric: The reason you get paid big bucks (£200K plus substantial Returning Officer top ups) is that the BUCK STOPS WITH YOU!…
Do we want people ‘hauled over the coals’? Not necessarily – but what we don’t want is failure to be rewarded with hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money again and again and again…