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Bournemouth Council told: answer questions about accountant suspended over Mouchel concerns
COUNCILLORS have vented their frustration at the silence coming from Bournemouth Town Hall over the continuing suspension of the chief accountant.
Stephen Parker was escorted from the council headquarters last October after he sent an email to all councillors expressing concerns about the authority’s deal with outsourcing company Mouchel.
He has been suspended on full pay for the past four months while an investigation is carried out.
But the council has repeatedly refused to confirm any details about this process and questions by opposition councillors have gone unanswered.
Independent Cllr Ron Whittaker has called on chief executive Pam Donnellan to answer three specific questions.
These are whether an external investigator has been app-ointed to look at the claims within Mr Parker’s email, when the results of the investigation will be known and to whom the findings and recommendations will be reported.
He said: “It has been some four months since Stephen Parker was suspended.
“One cannot imagine what stress this is putting him under.
“The time has come that we really need answers as to when we will see this highly respected officer back in post.”
He has also questioned why Mr Parker’s concerns were not referred to the accountants appointed to carry out a recent risk assessment of the council’s plans to transfer more services to Mouchel.
Liberal Democrat group leader Cllr Carol Ainge said: “It must be dreadful for Mr Parker to be living in limbo like this.
“It’s also unfair to be paying someone for four months and not have a result.
“The problem is that nobody at the Town Hall is telling anybody everything.”
Pam Donnellan, chief executive of Bournemouth council, said: “The council has already considered a full business case for the next stages of the incremental partnership including any relevant risks.
“This issue is connected to a personnel matter that is under investigation and it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.”