Ged Fitzgerald offered his resignation as Chief Executive of Liverpool City Council yesterday and the Council and I have accepted it.
While we do not – and cannot – offer a running commentary on staffing matters, I just wanted to briefly outline our approach – in light of continuing media attention speculation, innuendo and political mischievousness.
In all staffing matters, we observe our duty of care responsibilities and employment law. We have to, otherwise we put the Council at massive financial risk, something I would never do.
As you expect, we followed the best legal and HR guidance throughout this case – including the use of outside solicitors – following the advice to the letter.
Furthermore, the process we adopted was as transparent as possible, with opposition groups leaders and Members appraised of developments all the way through.
If councils act with haste and do not follow all the proper processes, they leave themselves wide open to legal challenge. Those criticising our approach are being utterly reckless and that includes the press who are more interested in creating juicy headlines and ignoring the facts and the truth.
In the recent past, (under the previous Lib Dem administration), council tax payers had to pick up a £1.6 million bill after the botched dismissal of a string of senior executives – a move which I said at the time was ‘obscene.’ The actions of politicians then were rightly exposed and they were held to account by the Standards Board for England and they damaged our city’s reputation.
In contrast, I am clear that we have acted with integrity, followed the rules and worked to protect the Council’s legal and financial position throughout this case and I repeat we have used specialist legal advice that has guided us through this process. As always I will not bow to political or other pressure but will always do the right thing and not put the Council at risk.
Moving forward, we now begin the process to recruit a new chief executive and I will keep you posted.
Mayor of Liverpool