Glasgow City Council has been under new political leadership since 2017, but I'm afraid it's the 'same old, same old' when it comes to the special treatment afforded to some of its most senior officials.
While the Council's front line workers have been risking their own health and safety to keep essential services going during the Coronavirus pandemic, one of its highest paid 'generals' has been allowed to retire early and walk away from an outstanding investigation on foreign trips and expenses.
See post below - Cannes You Believe It, Glasgow?.
Read the Glasgow Times report on the story via the link below, but to be honest this raises more questions than answers - the executive director for Development and Regeneration Services, Richard Brown, has been absent from work since 2018, but was he suspended on full pay, on 'special leave' of some kind or was he on sick pay.
Apparently, Richard Brown's assistant director (Tommy Turley) left the Council's employment some time ago, presumably via the early retirement route as well.
But Glasgow City Council has not reported on the outcome of its investigation, if there really was one, or on the conclusions reached over such an appalling use of public money.
The timing of the announcement (at the end of April) also stinks to high heaven because the cost figures involved (on pay, sick pay retirement etc) will conveniently not be included in the City Council accounts for 2020 since the financial year ended on 31 March 2020.
A shameful episode if you ask me and true to form, Glasgow City Council has been shameless to the end.
Glasgow City Council boss retires early amid expenses probe
By Stewart Paterson - Glasgow Evening Times
Richard Brown,Executive Director for DRS.
A COUNCIL boss who had been facing a possible disciplinary hearing over expenses for the past year has retired early.
Richard Brown, former executive director for Development and Regeneration Services, was the subject of an investigation in 2018 into claims for travel and accommodation.
The Glasgow Times revealed in December 2018 that he was investigated for alleged breach of expenses rules.
His retirement means no disciplinary that could have taken place will now happen as he is no longer employed.
At the time it was indicated that the investigation found there may be a case to answer and there was the possibility of a disciplinary hearing, which could have led to Mr Brown losing his job.
Now after one year off sick, Mr Brown has retired, understood to be on the grounds of ill health.
Council sick pay guidelines for employees with more than five years’ service state they are entitled to six months on full pay and then a further six months on half pay.
Mr Brown, 50, was the second highest earner at Glasgow City Council with a salary of £138,701 in 2018/19. It was equal to the director of education and the then director of social work and second only to Annemarie O’Donnell, the council chief executive.
It means that for the last year, while off sick, Mr Brown would have been paid £103,025, before he would be put on the government Statutory Sick Pay of £95 a week.
The council terms for employees for leaving under ill health are that they receive their notice period, which for Executive directors like Mr Brown, would be three months.
For him, that would mean £34,675.
It was alleged Mr Brown and then assistant director Tom Turley had claimed for flights, trains and top hotels in a number of cities around the world. It was also alleged that some claims for spending on trips were not supported by receipts.
It was believed to be a five-figure sum.
The Glasgow Times understands that both parties have vehemently contested the allegations.
Mr Brown has been on sick leave and not able to be compelled to attend any such disciplinary meetings had they been called.
Mr Brown is one of the longest serving staff at Glasgow City Council having spent his working life in local government.
He was born and raised in the East End of Glasgow and began his career while still in his teens, having previously worked for Strathclyde Regional Council since 1988 and transferring to Glasgow City Council in 1996 under local Government reorganisation.
He was previously managing director of City Property and also of Community Planning at the council. He has been director of Development and Regeneration Services since 2012.
During that time, he has overseen projects like the transformation of the riverfront and the regeneration of the East End as a result of the Commonwealth Games in the city.
Glasgow City Council declined to comment on any specific issues regarding Mr Brown and would only say: “Mr Brown has retired.”
Mr Brown was not able to be contacted.