Norwich housing scandal: officer faces hearing
Sam EmanuelThe senior official at the centre of the Norwich City Council housing scandal is due to face a disciplinary hearing today , the EDP understands.But councillors were last night warned there was no guarantee the matter would be concluded quickly.Sam Emanuel
The senior official at the centre of the Norwich City Council housing scandal is due to face a disciplinary hearing today , the EDP understands.
But councillors were last night warned there was no guarantee the matter would be concluded quickly.
Kristine Reeves, the council's head of neighbourhood and strategic housing services, has been suspended on full pay for more than a month after she was revealed to have been living at Greyhound Opening, a decommissioned sheltered housing complex, for rents of just �47 a week.
Ms Reeves, who earned at least �52,000 a year, had played a key role in the decision to move elderly tenants out in order to demolish the scheme and redevelop the site.
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It subsequently emerged that 18 other council staff were also living at Greyhound Opening. They have been given until the end of the month to leave.
Referring to the disciplinary action, but not naming Ms Reeves, deputy chief executive Bridget Buttinger told the council's scrutiny committee: 'The programme is scheduled and what we can't say is when exactly it will be finished. Often these things can't be finished in one sitting.'
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John Jones, head of legal and democratic services, added: 'Potentially this could end up as an employment tribunal, for example.'
On Wednesday chief executive Laura McGillivray bowed to pressure, announcing that the council's internal investigation into the scandal would be subjected to an external review by former local authority chief executive Philip Watson.
Councillors last night agreed that, if available in time, his report should come before a specially-convened meeting of the scrutiny panel on January 22, five days before a full council meeting at which the affair is also likely to be debated.
The council's Green and Liberal Democrat groups are pressing for a full independent inquiry, along with the Lib Dems' Norwich South parliamentary spokesman Simon Wright and Chloe Smith, Tory candidate for Norwich North.
Pauline Walton, chairman of the Norwich Leaseholders' Association, said the decision to call a limited external review was a 'sham', adding: 'We want a full transparent inquiry to expose the truth. Nothing less will do.'