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Saga of suspended £72k-a-year Staffordshire council boss drags on

By Jack Averty | Staffordshire | Politics | Published:

The saga over the suspension of a council boss has dragged on into its eighth month, with no end in sight.

Staffordshire County Council HQ

Jamie MacDonald, Staffordshire County Council’s head of strategic property, has been suspended on full pay since December last year – raking in more than £42,000 in the process.

Despite repeated requests from the Express & Star, the council has refused to say why Mr MacDonald was suspended or when a resolution is likely.

The authority has admitted it is ‘concious’ about the length of time that has passed but that ‘proper processes’ have to be followed.

Philip Atkins, the leader of Staffordshire County Council, said: “We are conscious that time is passing and everyone is keen to see a resolution, however proper processes must be followed in the interests of fairness.”

The suspension has attracted criticism from the TaxPayers’ Alliance, which says issues such as these should be ‘resolved as efficiently as possible’.

James Price, the alliance’s campaign manager, told the Express & Star: “Taxpayers expect their councils to be run in a professional manner, with as little waste as possible.

"Nothing infuriates people more about the bureaucracies that represent them, so issues should be resolved as efficiently as possible. Transparency is often the best disinfectant.”

Mr MacDonald, who earns £72,297 a year, was suspended on December 29 on full pay pending an investigation.

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His suspension came just weeks after the council’s head of HR, Lisa Cartwright, was suspended for an unrelated matter. She remained suspended up until April when she tendered her resignation to the council’s chief executive John Henderson.

As well as his role with the council, which he joined in 2008, Mr MacDonald is also a director of Penda Property Partnership – a joint venture company set up between Kier and the council.

He and his department are responsible for transforming the way that council property is managed, establishing a corporate landlord approach and mapping the public estate.

He is one of the figures behind the authority’s money-saving initiative for public bodies to share offices.

Jack Averty

By Jack Averty
Senior Reporter - @javerty_star

Reporter with the Express & Star, based at head office in Wolverhampton

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