THE Town Hall’s personnel boss has been suspended on full pay from her £100,000 post amid claims of bullying and financial mismanagement, writes Róisín Gadelrab.
Maria King was temporarily removed from her post on December 11, pending a disciplinary investigation after a number of staff lodged formal complaints.
Ms King, who lives in the borough, was hired as Islington Council’s director of human resources – which commands a salary of between £95,000 and £110,000 – in July 2002.
The suspension follows an inquiry by an external investigator who presented her findings to the council last week.
It is understood at least one of the complaints centres on council payments totalling more than £1.6million made to external contractors over six years.
Trade union Unison has confirmed it is representing one of the complainants.
The council’s director of corporate resources, Louise Round, has been appointed to oversee the disciplinary hearing.
A council spokesman said: “Allegations were made by a number of employees relating to bullying and failure to follow financial procedures. A thorough investigation has been carried out.
“As a result of this investigation, the director of human resources has been suspended pending a disciplinary hearing. Suspension is not an assumption of guilt and it would be wrong to draw any conclusion from this.
“In the meantime, the council will appoint an interim head of human resources to manage this service.
“Any further discussion or speculation would not be appropriate until the disciplinary process has concluded.”
The Town Hall said it was not “necessary or appropriate” to say how many staff complained.
Police have not been involved and there have been no allegations of misuse of public funds.
The disciplinary hearing will consider whether correct procedures were followed when appointing external contractors.