The Brighton & Hove Local Government Unison Branch has put its name to the open letter below, which has been put together by a number of concerned groups in the city
An open letter to Warren Morgan, Labour councillor and leader of Brighton & Hove City Council
Dear Warren Morgan
On 18 June, Penny Thompson, the Chief Executive Officer of Brighton and Hove City Council announced her departure. In her final blog she strongly indicated that it was not her decision to step down, writing: “We have a new Labour Administration in the council. The Council wants to appoint a new CEO”. We understand her settlement payment to be £269,000 and that recruiting a new CEO will cost tens of thousands of pounds more. Given the current and unprecedented financial pressures on the Council, we are concerned that this ‘pay-off’ will result in further cuts to local jobs and services. Furthermore, since Penny Thompson’s performance was not in question, this considerable cost seems wholly unnecessary.
It is of utmost importance that the actions and decisions that elected councillors make are open to scrutiny and are always in the interests of the public they serve. We are appalled, therefore, that this decision was taken during a secret meeting. In the interest of transparency, we ask you to provide the reasons for removing Penny Thompson and to explain how this is in the public interest. We also ask you to clarify what jobs and services will be cut in order to pay for Penny Thompson’s settlement.