Rumours of a Shitty Hall meltdown emerge as news reaches your caring, sharing BRISTOLIAN that no less than THREE senior Bristol City Council senior managers sensationally QUIT last week. All, apparently, unable to work any longer in Mayor Fergo’s shambolic ‘rule-by-Twitter’ and ‘manage-by-foolish-announcement-on-BBC-Radio-Bristol’ regime. Sources in the council have also revealed to us that these exits are being accompanied by unusually LARGE CASH PAYMENTS from our cash-strapped council to some of the quitters.
The quitters confirmed, so far, to the BRISTOLIAN include senior finance boss, Peter “Robbin-us” Robinson; communications boss, Peter “Claudia-Jean” Holt and belly-flopping major projects manager Alun “It’s a Fuck Up” Owen, the man in charge of the rubbish BRT project and who tried, a few years ago, to swap – with the city’s wealthiest man – a piece of our land at Ashton Gate worth millions for a few hundred cut-price health club memberships. A deal he laughably described as “good value”.
In a further extraordinary twist, a source has confirmed to the BRISTOLIAN that Peter Robbin-us, who fled for the shires on Friday, was handed £50,000 of our money as he went out of the door. This is unusual as Robbin-us, who voluntarily resigned to take up a post in Hereford – deep in the Tory shires where, traditionally, bent accountants have oiled the wheels of commerce and power – would not usually be entitled to a redundancy payment. How many times have you voluntarily put in notice to take up another job and then been rewarded with a massive redundancy payment?
And even if this was a redundancy payment, the amount involved has raised eyebrows. Just three years ago, the council’s former Chief Exec, the BRADFORD SUN QUEEN, Jan Ormondroyd introduced strict limits on redundancy payments to senior managers ensuring all payments were capped to reflect a pay maximum of £35,000 a year, less than half Robbin-us’s generous wage. So even in the unlikely event Robbin-us was entitled to the maximum amount of redundancy over the maximum time period, he’s still received an amount of our money some 50% over his entitlement!
Our source confirms that this is because Robbin-us did not receive redundancy at all. Instead he was paid handsomely for signing a COMPROMISE AGREEMENT with a convenient GAGGING CLAUSE agreed by Mayor Fergo’s new City Director Nicola “LADY GAGA” Yates, who has a bit of form for shutting her staff up. Such agreements should be used to settle genuine legal disputes not cover-up dodgy public money payments to senior bosses. However, any details of this agreement are conveniently now secret thanks to this little clause in the deal:
What a joke! Bristol City Council has effectively GAGGED ITSELF from discussing with the public, its councillors or journalists its own dodgy pay outs to its former managers. Where’s the accountability? This news comes just a few months after a national scandal over the city’s excessive use of compromise deals to gag staff, which had senior managers assuring councillors that these deals “are only ever used in exceptional circumstances”.
Yeah. An exceptional circumstance like when they want to give one of their mates a generous, top secret pay-off.
Staff at the council, meanwhile, are said to be livid at the deal. Robin-us’s reputation at Shitty Hall is appalling. In the last year he’s purchased a new finance system from Agilisys, “one of the UK’s most innovative IT and business services providers”, as part of a £40m outsourcing deal, which has been described to the BRISTOLIAN reliably as, “a load of shit that doesn’t work … that must have been bought by a cretin who’s never operated a computer before”.
He’s also DELIBERATELY DRAGGED HIS FEET over locating £165k missing from the council’s Markets Service (Bristolian passim). Insiders tell us, “he’s more interested in COVERING HIS MIDDLE MANAGEMENT CRONIES’ ARSES than the sound management of public money.”
While so degraded was Robin-us’s financial management culture that his own internal auditors, responsible for investigating irregularity, fraud and corruption, are now openly admitting that they can no longer protect whistleblowers from what’s been described to us as “A SLEAZY CULTURE OF MANAGEMENT BULLYING AND COVER-UP”.
So, while kids go hungry, families queue at food banks and our streets remain uncleaned you can rest assured that our local authority’s former senior managers are all doing just fine, thanks.
SEE THE BRISTOLIAN No. 7 (out in October) FOR EVEN MORE:
Robin-us’s parting shot – the finance boss’s exit plan to slash our services and create a Barnet-style ‘Easy council’
The Sun Queen’s pay-off – how Jan Ormondroyd avoided her own redundancy rules to trouser her own secret wedge