Just two and a half years after serious issues were first raised by staff and over two years since any investigation was cynically SPIKED by council facilities boss Tony Harvey, the city council’s AUDIT COMMITTEE has finally woken up and requested a report into the crackpot finances at their Markets Service.
The committee requested the report in September although nothing appeared at their November meeting. Presumably it will appear at their meeting in January then? Unless more INEXPLICABLE DELAYS occur.
What’s the harm in a few more months of dodgy council bosses pissing about after over thirty months out in the long grass anyway? We note the report will be presented to the committee by the council’s overpromoted bog cleaner (surely senior facilities manager? Ed.)CHARLIE “DIRTBUSTER” HARDING.
Surely not the same Dirtbuster Harding we find listed as the chair of a recruitment panel for a wholly unnecessary Markets Service reorganisation devised on the back of an envelope by former Facilities boss Tony Harding back in the summer of 2012 right in the middle of a major audit investigation?
Indeed it is one and the same. Dirtbuster was even joined on this BIZARRE reorganisation and recruitment escapade by his old mate, Markets boss Steve Morris. Presumably taking some time away from DELETING £32k from his dodgy departmental accounts in the middle of the audit investigation that he didn’t bother cooperating with?
Morris, incidentally, was also at the centre of serious MISCONDUCT allegations by the very people he was interviewing. And according to our extensive files, Harding’s panel conveniently failed to reappoint any Markets Service complainants and whistleblowers to their own jobs. Who’d have guessed that?
Although the gormless duo, along with their idiot boss Harvey, later had to fork out PUBLIC MONEY in compensation to these same staff to avoid ending up at an employment tribunal and having to explain away their transparently bent recruitment process.
It’ll be interesting to see if any of these facts make it into Dirtbuster’s independent report won’t it?
**** PRIVATE SECTOR TWIT DIDN’T LIFT A FINGER TO HELP HIS HUMILIATED EMPLOYEE HARVEY ****
**** EGOMANIAC BOSS COULDN’T HANDLE ‘LOSS OF FACE’ ****
Moonlighting private sector property boss, ROBERT “SPUNKFACE” ORRETT, took over line management duties for death riddle markets boss TONY HARVEY from MIKE “TAX EFFICIENT” WATTS in December 2012 soon after the markets whistleblower had been successfully fired by Harvey and the humiliating audit report lay unread on Spunkface’s desk.
However, BNP Paribas employee, Spunkface was no new broom. he was more a stinking, shit-stained old mop soaked in the diseased and decaying excrement of Harvey and his useless old boss Mike “Tax Efficient” Watts.
For while Spunkface may now be publicly breaking down in tears in meetings over the grizzly fate of his employee, HE DID BUGGER-ALL to try to protect Harvey from being exposed and humiliated in the press when he had the chance.
The BRISTOLIAN understands a meeting took place with Orrett in early December 2012 to discuss the fact that a whistleblower had been proven to be unfairly removed from his job by Harvey and that all of the twenty-odd detailed allegations regarding markets finances remained “UNRESOLVED” after a pathetic six month non-investigation by the council’s rubbish Internal Audit department.
The BRISTOLIAN has been told, “Orrett basically said the investigation was over – he was resolving it by leaving it unresolved – and that what happened from now on was up to him and none of our business. He was not interested in the slightest in negotiation, discussion or any form of conciliation. He just looked down his snooty fucking nose at us.
“It was clear the whistleblower had reached the end of line within the council. The council were more concerned with victimising and screwing a whistleblower than investigating their own bosses for potential fraud, theft and mismanagement of public money.
“It’s hardly surprising the whistleblower turned to the press and to the radical press at that. They’re the ones who will give scumbags like Spunkface and Harvey as good as they give in the total bastard stakes.”
And us total bastards at The BRISTOLIAN can report that once we started, early last year, rubbing the council’s nose in Harvey’s role in markets, neither Spunkface nor any other council manager bothered to contact the paper, the whistleblower or his union to attempt to resolve the situation or allege any inaccuracies in our stories (because there aren’t any).
In the ultra-macho management culture favoured by Spunkface and Harvey there’s presumably no place for compromise, climb-downs, loss of face or apology?
Spunkface, literally, preferred to let Harvey dangle than reconsider a crap decision. What a silly boy.
**** ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER EMAIL COMES TO LIGHT ABOUT THE COUNCIL’S DERANGED MANAGEMENT OF THE MARKET SERVICE SCANDAL ****
**** UNACCOUNTABLE ‘TAX EFFICIENT’ CONSULTANT ON SIX FIGURE SALARY DROPS HARVEY IN IT AND BRAVELY RUNS AWAY! ****
On 6 December 2012, Tony Harvey’s then boss, Mike “Tax efficient” Watts responded to a query from a markets service whistleblower.
The whistleblower was concerned that the recently published audit report into markets, which left every one of their complaints “UNRESOLVED” after six months of supposed investigation, was being ignored and buried by Watts, a highly paid consultant Service Director, and his useful idiot, Harvey who he had designated as his hatchet man.
Watts – or Capability and Performance Improvement Ltd as perhaps he should be known – was pointedly and directly asked about the whistleblower taking their complaints outside of the city council. Watts’ brusque reply was, “you are fully entitled to take up with any other authority you see fit and have been all along.”
So did Watts consider that the whistleblower might see the press as fit? And did this supposed human resources expert think through the potential implications of this for the staff he was responsible for and who would be in the direct line of fire?
But why would he give a toss? The greedy private sector consultant – who was not even an employee of Bristol City Council and who was paid by us council tax payers through a limited company to reduce his income tax bill – was off to take up another lucrative and unaccountable post waffling about HR for Southampton City Council!
So he wasn’t going to be around to pick up the pieces from his crap, macho man decisions was he? Talk about dropping other people in it …
**** DEATH RIDDLE MARKETS BOSS PUT IN LINE OF FIRE BY SENIOR MANAGERS AND COUNCILLORS ****
The BRISTOLIAN has obtained a sensational letter from a Markets Service whistleblower to the council’s former Monitoring Officer, Stephen McNamara sent in July 2012. The letter was also copied to former strategic director Will Godfey and a handful of senior councillors responsible for financial oversight.
The letter is a formal complaint regarding suicide boss, Tony Harvey’s multiple failures in his treatment of a bona fide whistleblower and it particularly focuses on Harvey’s proposed ‘restructure’ of the markets service that he announced, in a remarkable coincidence, just days after the whistleblower came forward in 2012!
The letter explains that Harvey was undertaking this restructure of the department as a blatant means of getting the whistleblower out of their post while an investigation into serious financial irregularities in Harvey’s dodgy service had barely begun.
Remarkably, Harvey was refusing to suspend his dodgy restructure on the basis that “the [audit] investigation will not affect the review[/restructure]”. An absurd opinion. How could an investigation that would conclude with a considerable number of recommendations about the structure and practice of the department’s financial management not affect a review of the department’s structure and practice?
As The BRISTOLIAN has been told by a well-placed source, “Harvey’s restructure always looked like the act of some bent-as-hell management madman intent on sacking a whistleblower to cover up his own dodgy and incompetent management conduct rather than the cool-headed, well thought out professional restructure of a local authority department he was handsomely paid to produce.”
Indeed, the letter to McNamara highlights a number of major irregularities in Harvey’s restructure plan. Some proven accurate when the council later had to reach an out-of-court settlement with one of the whistleblowers due to the flaws in this very restructure.
The letter goes on to ask that Harvey’s restructure process be suspended until the financial investigation is complete and a proper, comprehensive restructure, including the recommendations from the investigation, could be produced. The whistleblower and his union even offered their wholesale help and support to such a process.
The conclusion of the letter is intriguing. Firstly it states:
You are entirely at liberty to continue on the course selected by Tony Harvey and I am at liberty to reach the conclusion that you’re not taking my complaints at all seriously and take them outside the organisation.
A clear indication that the whistleblower would make things public if necessary. They then go on to say,
My trade union representative and I are more than happy to discuss the issues raised in this letter with either yourself or Will [Godfrey] or another serious management representative that is not Tony Harvey.
A clear indication that the whistleblower was open to dialogue, discussion and negotiation. The letter concludes by saying,
I’m extremely persistent and deeply interested in the proper conduct of public affairs. I’m not going to go away and there’s certainly nobody in your authority capable of scaring me away. I’ve provided a number of reasonable ‘soft’ options worth pursuing in this letter. I would strongly encourage you to take one of them.
Alas, McNamara’s response was short, curt and dismissive. No discussion. No dialogue. No negotiation. Harvey’s dodgy process to remove a whistleblower from their job during a ‘live’ financial investigation would continue.
Unfortunately – for them – The BRISTOLIAN also does short, curt and dismissive. More effectively, many would say, than a jumped-up public sector lawyer like McNamara.
And so the die was cast. Senior council bosses proactively decided upon open conflict and a bruising public row rather than negotiation and compromise.
But did they bother to think through the implications of their decision? Did they consider the potential impact on their staff – such as Tony Harvey – on the frontline of any brutal and very public conflict? Did they consider their duty of care towards Tony Harvey?
Or was this another decision driven by sheer arrogance and the knowledge that someone else’s body could always be thrown in the way to deal with the consequences and to pay any price?
‘It’ll all be over by Christmas,’ city council bean counters promised us in September 2013 about their dodgy Market Service and it’s never ending financial scandal:
Alas, it hasn’t quite gone to plan (again). Here’s their audit report for February 2014:
“Positive direction of travel”? What of? Our money in to bosses’ pockets?
Meanwhile in the trenches … The next issue of The Bristolian is on the streets next week and we’ll be looking at this Markets nonsense and a recent tragic turn of events in considerable detail. Prepare to be SHOCKED!!!