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Labour deny Lancashire officers plot
TOP Tories have accused Labour’s County Hall high command of targeting senior Lancashire officials they fear hinder their political ambitions.
Former county boss Geoff Driver and Oswaldtwistle councillor Peter Britcliffe made the allegation after a private email exchange between Lancashire leader Jenny Mein and Hyndburn council chief Miles Parkinson became public.
He congratulates her over the agreement for suspended county chief executive Phil Halsall to leave the authority’s employ.
Then Coun Parkinson, vice-chairman of Lancashire combined fire and rescue authority, refers to Lancashire’s Chief Fire Officer (CFO) Chris Kenny and says ‘only got a problem with the CFO now’ and says authority chairman Frank de Molfetta will discuss that issue with her.
The mail, circulated to several senior county Tories, angered Councillors Driver and Britcliffe who allege a concerted drive to purge Lancashire of officers who may obstruct Labour policies.
Coun Mein and Rishton and Clayton-le-Moors representative Coun Parkinson deny this.
The reference to Mr Kenny is understood to relate to payment of a £10,000 performance bonus included in his contract when he was appointed on an annual £140,000 salary in October last year.
Coun Driver said: “Coun Mein and Labour want puppets, not independent officers who give impartial advice. This email of Coun Parkinson’s shows they are targeting officials they think might hinder Labour. What has Chris Kenny got to do with Jenny Mein?”
Coun Britcliffe said: “I think Miles should explain himself. He has made a huge gaffe which suggests Labour are targeting senior officials in Lancashire and that the new CFO is in their sights.”
Coun Mein said: “This is a ridiculous suggestion from a man who cannot come to terms with the fact he is no longer leader of the county council.
“He is being vindictive and destructive.”
Coun Parkinson said: “I was congratulating Jenny on agreeing mutual terms with Mr Halsall for his departure. I have no comment on Mr Kenny.”
A spokesman for Mr Kenny said: “We don’t feel that it is appropriate for us to comment.”
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