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South Shields premier political blog

South Tyneside Officers jump ship

with 12 comments

Officers leave sinking ship

Now, there are two ways of looking at this

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I’m all in favour of people advancing their careers and looking to extend their own and their family’s security, I believe in succession planning and the free market for labour, but when a Chief Executive, a Chairperson, and two Executive Directors leave the ship in close order, my suspicions are aroused. One has to ask questions about why such a clutch of higher ranking personnel want to leave the employment of “award winning” South Tyneside Council?

Either, they were not particularly happy bunnies in their work and hence sought fresh pastures, or they were so good at their jobs that everybody else wanted them – were they head hunted?

Whichever way you look at it Paul Waggott, Iain Malcolm, and Irene Lucas have some serious head scratching to do with a large vacuum to fill at the top of the organisation.

Who has their hand on the tiller now?


Check the comments to this post, Amanda Skelton’s new job will be in Redcar and Cleveland where she will have to deal with an area of land which they controversially plan to build upon, it is full of contaminants just like Trow Quarry. Will she be able to balance the need for openness and transparency, in a manner which she so failed to do so initially here , with the need for environmental protection?

Out of the frying pan and into the fire?


Written by curly

September 13, 2007 at 6:47 pm

12 Responses

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  1. Did the council ever find that £4m missing from the budget?


    September 13, 2007 at 7:21 pm

  2. I am from Redcar and Cleveland borough. I have been campaigning along with a whole movement of other people here for justice and truth over the council trying to let Persimmon homes building 359 homes on our coastline for three years.

    Like yours, our council is supposed to be a ‘four star’ authority, but the fact is that it isnt. The fact is that they were found guilty of maladministration twice last year within months of each other.The fact is that our chief executive was found by two tribunals of deliberately not telling the truth, changing his evidence overnight, not telling the truth to the councils solicitors and sharp practise to the point of abusing certain council processes.

    Like your authority there have been six council officers here, who have either left, are going, or have been suspended and this includes the chief executive and the project manager of the Coatham scheme, all within a short space of time. All of them are directly linked with the shadowy Coatham scheme that we have been campaigning against.

    I say shadowy because can you believe that despite over two thousand people objecting to it, despite a ten thousand signature against it, despite having no funding from anywhere for the leisure that has been promised and with no 106 agreement being signed between the council and Persimmon, tying Persimmon to providing any leisure, despite the leader of the labour group who is now leader of the council calling the planning meeting and decision for Coatham tainted publicly, despite the labour mp calling the scheme botched, despite there being a thousand calls from the public for it to be called in, the fact is that the new labour council, who started the scheme in the first place when they were last in power, have simply pressed ahead with it all as much as the last libdem/tory/east cleveland independent coalition!! Since when was a tainted planning meeting and decision for a botched scheme ever a recipe for success?

    Can you believe that the land is contaminated with cyanide and arsenic and lead among other thigs, in places 2.5 times over the sgv. Can you believe that it is still home to unexploded ww11 mines. Can you believe that this information is in their own planning application and yet when we made it public, the council denied it to the hilt, smeared us as scaremongerers and liars and went out of their way to try and get any new opinion to trash the information in their own application, yet somehow their original application still stands?

    Can you believe that in November last year plans for a 5GP surgery were added as an ammendment to the Coatham planning application from absolutely nowhere. The councillors and relevant committees had had no knowledge of this surgery being added at all. No public consultation had been done at all.When we made it public, a senior manager from our pct, stephen childs phoned me and told me the pct had no knowledge of the addition either and that nothing was definate. They maintained this stance up till January this year when at a public meeting they said that the decision to add the plans to the application had been a speculative move by Persimmon and an officer of the council that stephen childs refused to name.This wasnt minuted! However, shortly after, we discovered that in June last year, two months before the application was even submitted, stephen childs actually presented a report to the board of the pct making the case for the 5GP surgery being added to the plans for Coatham!
    Not only that who should be sat on the board of the pct? None other than Veronica Moore, the wife of the chief executive of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council Colin Moore, who has been pushing the coatham scheme like a man possesed! To add insult to injury can you believe that Mrs Moore who was a non-executive board member of the pct, actually made the site visit of the old Coatham surgery with the ceo of the pct in the first place!! Would you be surprised to learn that shortly after we made this public, she resigned from the board of the pct!

    Can you believe that although the council passed this trashed planning application at the tainted planning meeting six months ago, the council have only just announced this week that they will be carrying out site investigations to locate and monitor gas beneath the site. THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE YEARS AGO AND THE INFORMATION ADDED TO THE PLANNING APPLICATION BEFORE THE APPLICATION WAS SUBMITTED, NOT SIX MONTHS AFTER IT WAS PASSED!
    Can you believe that our new labour leader of the council called for the chief executive Colin Moore, to be investigated twice when he was in opposition. Yet now he is leader he has praised the CEO to high heaven in the paper calling him ‘talented’ and ‘hardworking’.

    Can you believe that shortly after the CEO announced his resignation, news hit the front pages of the Evening Gazette that stated that we have a TWELVE MILLION POUND BLACK HOLE IN OUR COUNCILS BUDGET! Yet just four days later, the same labour leader of the council went into the papers again stating that everything was alright and not only that, he was going to relieve the CEO of his normal council duties so that he could try and plug the hole by selling off assets around the borough, before he leaves in December! There is going to be no investigation as to how we came to have a £12,000,000 defecit in our budget whatsoever!

    Can you believe that with this record our CEO was given the job of interviewing applicants for his job by holding what was stated in the press as a “confidential discussion”, so in effect he had a massive hand in selecting the new Chief Executive?

    Can you believe that yesterday it was announced in a press release issued by the council, that one of your officers at South Tyneside, Amanda Skelton, has been given the job of new Chief executive of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council!

    Can you believe that even though she had been investigated for her part in the

    No doubt as you have been reading this you will have noticed many similarities between your council and ours.When I saw how many similarities there were and when I saw how this woman, who is now going to be our new CEO had behaved over the Trow Quarry affair, it came as absolutely no surprise to me at all and I could believe it.Because it would seem that they are just shifting rotten apples from one barrel to another in order to cover up the truth.

    Go to this site and see the truth of what is going on here.I know that we are 40 miles apart, but with so much common ground I think that we should come together to flush this out in the open once and for all.


    Chris Mcglade. The Friends of Coatham Common.

    chris mcglade

    September 15, 2007 at 10:09 am

  3. There is one line in the above posting that is unfinished. For some reason my comment posted itself as I was adding that sentence?

    What I was going to say is that can you believe that even though she has been investigated for playing her part in covering up the truth about Trow Quarry, and even though apparantly she hasnt come out too well from it all, our labour leader here in Redcar has stated in yesterdays publicly that she has an excellent track record?

    chris mcglade

    September 15, 2007 at 10:34 am

  4. It’s up to every last person who reads these comments to tell as many people as you can about what is going on here and how the tainted or incompetent and perhaps even corrupt, are just being moved around from area to area in order to cover up the indiscretions of the last lot of tainted and incompetent or possibly corrupt officers. Look at the information I have provided about our council.It is almost identical to the things that have been happening with your council.
    If these things are going on in two councils in the N.E region, then how many more are these things taking place in?
    It’s about time that we all stood up together,to beat this together for the sake of our children.
    I am just a normal man who decided to take a stand three years ago because I felt I was being bullied by our council. Since then a whole movement of people from barristers to teachers, nurses to soldiers, old and young have come forward to stand up against these abuses in Redcar too.
    I will keep you all updated from now on and perhaps we could arrange to meet sometime.People from Sunderland, county Durham, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and even from London and Cornwall have all stood with us to be heard because people in all of these places are fighting for the truth and justice as we are.

    Here’s to the future.

    chris mcglade

    September 15, 2007 at 2:19 pm

  5. […] grass is always greener”, however a read of the comments in my post about officers “jumping ship” will show that the grass in Redcar is every bit as none-green as the grass at Trow Quarry, […]

  6. […] despite denying that she was about to resign from ours. How do we know all this? Because I told you on the 13th. and 15th. […]

  7. curly just out of hospital and catching up on whats been going on this last month,well let we see how long it takes for this council to let us know that another top dog in the council is also set to fly.paul walker i belive is also leaving. in south tyneside homes diane smith has put in her notice,mel churchill has gone (not on his own steam iv heard) who next amanda skelton? THAT WOULD NOT SUPRISE ME.2stars is looking very unlikely at this time, you only leave a sinking ship not one that is cruising.

    j taylor

    September 26, 2007 at 3:44 pm

  8. sorry curly not amanda skelton it should have read irene lucus

    j taylor

    September 26, 2007 at 3:46 pm

  9. Thanks J. Taylor.

    Are you able to provide any verification or some form of evidence or is this just your considered opinion?
    I’m sure others will be very interested to know.


    September 26, 2007 at 6:36 pm

  10. […] Wilding and Chairman Gladys Hobson. In one of my recent posts I used an illustration that suggested a sinking ship (it was clearly made in a humorous vein) however, we must question whether South Tyneside’s […]

  11. Just to reply to comment no. 7. The ‘sinking ship’ you refer to also has no rudder. Its going round……….and around…………and around in circles with no Captain on board. Why? Because they’ve gone overboard. They may well have jumped ship to an inflatable dinghy, as far as we know. Bring back the old Chief Exec’s that used to control our authority! At least we knew where we stood with them. Let these Heads and managers leave, let them go because I couldn’t care less. They don’t give two hoots about the people of South Tyneside or their services. These are career people. At the end of the day, its down to money, and boy have they made some money here. And they will continue to do so, wherever they go.


    October 21, 2007 at 3:02 am

  12. Question
    South Tyneside Homes was set up to ensure tenants are first when it comes to their homes and the environment they live in, with Mel Churchill the Tenant Involvement Manager leaving to go to a Housing Association who will ensure tenants have an input into the decision making process of South Tyneside Homes?
    They don’t care what tenants want, Council Officers will decide what tenants get and when they get it. This is the way it worked before and they have no intention of changing now despite changing their name to South Tyneside Homes.

    Residents Association rep

    October 21, 2007 at 3:52 pm

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