Gloucester councillors meet behind closed doors as director remains suspended
COUNCILLORS met behind closed doors as the suspension of the city council's regeneration boss ran in to a fifth month.
The Citizen understands Phil Staddon's enforced absence from his top job at Gloucester City Council may soon be resolved, but members of the organisational development committee remained tight-lipped on the situation.
Council regeneration director Mr Staddon has been suspended from his £85,000-a-year post over allegations connected to an investigation into nepotism at the authority.
A special meeting of the committee was held before Wednesday's cabinet meeting with only one agenda item, an update on staffing – with public and press excluded.
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Members of the committee were barred from revealing what the update concerned.
One city council worker said speculation is "rife", but they had not heard whether Mr Staddon was coming back to work or not.
"There is £300,000 identified in the budget consultation for savings from senior management, which would be at least a management post," they said.
"We have no idea whether he is returning though."
Mr Staddon was suspended in October after three others were suspended – since then, one was dismissed, one resigned, and another was ticked off.
Mr Staddon's interim replacement is understood to be costing the council £700 a day.
Two other council workers were dismissed subsequently over unrelated allegations of nepotism, it is understood.
An external investigator and police were called in to probe allegations made in anonymous letters that managers appointed staff and consultants without going through the proper processes.
The external investigator was also asked to look into allegations levelled at Mr Staddon, which are understood to be linked to the original allegations, and not the claims made in the anonymous letters.
Mr Staddon declined to comment when approached by The Citizen yesterday.