Today’s Letter to the Editor is a follow-up to a previous publication (published 22nd May 2023) regarding the conduct of Officers of Peterlee Town Council which, on the evidence of former Peterlee Town Councillor Mandy THOMPSON, has been systematically white-washing improper financial conduct for approaching a decade – a disturbingly common enough phenomenon.
Now read how the Durham Council Monitoring Officer, Ms Helen BRADLEY (pictured above), has used her position of authority in an attempt to turn a whistleblower into the villain and thereby ‘massacre’ the truth – a tale that is becoming all too familiar (as residents of Potto now know all too well).
The North Yorks Enquirer will continue to champion bona fide whistleblowers – always provided that the evidence stacks up. It generally does.
As you may recall, you were kind enough to publish my previous letter about a County Durham Town Council, corrupt in my (and many other people’s) view.
As a brief recap on events, being a former senior public sector manager and member of two trade union National Executive Committees, I believe I am very au fait with public sector sick pay policy, i.e. 6 months full-pay, 6 months half-pay and then Statutory Sick-pay for those with full entitlement.
On becoming an elected Councillor at Peterlee Town Council (2013-2017), I soon identified misuse of sick-pay by the two ‘officials’ i.e. the Deputy Town Clerk was operating two systems of sick-pay (overpaying former Clerk and correctly paying a junior member of staff). A ‘break in service’ denied the former Clerk the full sick pay entitlement.
Two approved Resolutions were made in February 2014 to have this ‘sick-pay’ looked at with the Deputy Town Clerk to take the lead. The Internal Auditor undertook the work, identifying the over-payment, though he was not allowed to attend a Council meeting to discuss his report – plus his contract was quickly terminated. The Deputy Town Clerk was given option to put it right but declined, stating, “It can’t be put right, I’m up to my neck in it”.
CID Police undertook a criminal investigation, though CPS could not progress, as the former Clerk’s appointment contract/legal document was – amazingly – ‘missing’.
Bullying by these Council staff started immediately, culminating in the Deputy Town Clerk engineering and facilitating my personal information onto the internet. I commenced court proceedings, winning an ‘Out of Court’ settlement of compensation and costs; full guilt was attributed to the Deputy Town Clerk. However, as this financial settlement was paid by the Council’s insurers, it does not show up in the Council’s annual accounts or any Minutes.
The February 2014 Minutes were only published in 2021, following a ‘Freedom of Information’ request by another member of the public, whereby a whole host of other missing Minutes were suddenly published – although I wonder if they are now complete, as all last week the council website was closed with a notice saying ‘WORK IN PROGRESS’?
The replacement Town Clerk was told about all this soon after appointment in, I believe, 2016 yet has done nothing except for accepting the Deputy Town Clerk’s version of events.
I tried raising concerns with the Durham County Council Monitoring Officer previously, and again in 2023, only to receive a ‘vexatious’ threat (see fully copy of this letter below), mirroring the view of the current Town Clerk. A contact, a former Councillor/Auditor, identified striking similarities to the recent ‘Lucy Letby’
case, whereby the ‘whistleblowers’ (Consultants) were castigated and the ‘guilty’ (i.e. Letby) was thus empowered to continue her crimes.
At this Town Council, we have the ‘Fiddling Deputy’ protected by the ‘Cover-up Clerk’, who himself is protected by the Mayor, with her own identified and witnessed indiscretion at a Party fund-raising event. All this leaves the Deputy Town Clerk never being held to account for her deliberate and fraudulent behaviours – plus false claim of the ‘Acting Town Clerk’, along with her friend, the former Town Clerk, resulting in the public purse being hundreds of thousands of pounds ‘lighter’.
Why should the former Town Clerk & Deputy Town Clerk get so much public money following their unlawful practices?
Why are public spirited whistle-blowers so often cast as trouble-makers, whilst the genuinely guilty are protected and often not held to account?
Is no-one who has had involvement with this problem, at the County or Town Council, honest with public monies & competent in line-management practices?
HELEN BRADLEY’s intimidatory letter
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