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What’s happened to absent Town Hall chief?’ councillors demand

PUBLISHED: 21:41 19 June 2009 | UPDATED: 14:28 05 October 2010

DEMANDS to explain the controversial absence of Town Hall chief executive Martin Smith are being made on Tower Hamlets council leader Lutfur Rahman. The Lib Dem Opposition is calling on him to make a public statement on why the man responsible for running the authority has not been in his post since his meeting with him three weeks ago

By Else Kvist

DEMANDS to explain the controversial absence of Town Hall chief executive Martin Smith are being made on Tower Hamlets council leader Lutfur Rahman.

The Liberal Democrat Opposition is calling on the ruling Labour group leader to make a public statement on why the man responsible for running the authority has not been in his post since his meeting with him nearly three weeks ago.

The move for a public statement tonight follows reports in the East London Advertiser that a six-figure settlement has been reached in principle’ between Mr Smith’s union and the ruling Labour administration.

EXECUTIVE DECISION

Liberal Opposition group leader Stephanie Eaton said: “It’s disgraceful that the Labour Executive is apparently taking decisions—but not bothering to tell residents or other council members about the situation.

“We need to know if Martin Smith has been asked to resign—and if so why.”

She added: “How much is it going to cost council taxpayers?”

Cllr Eaton spoke of the “enormous respect” the Lib Deb group had for Mr Smith who had served Tower Hamlets “diligently and conscientiously” as both financial director and as chief executive.

4-STAR

“He has led the council to numerous awards and seen the Audit Commission award the borough a 4-star excellent’ rating,” she continued.

“Martin works for all sections of the community and has a clear understanding of the challenges facing the East End in health inequality, affordable housing and recycling. If he is leaving before he would wish, the people of Tower Hamlets will have lost a dedicated officer with valuable expertise, experience and judgement.”

But Labour has refused to say anything about Martin Smith’s position, despite numerous requests by the Advertiser for a statement from the council. All the authority has been saying officially is that Martin Smith was “on annual leave.”


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