York council leader Keith Aspden’s position is untenable and he should go now, the city’s Labour group leader said tonight (Monday).
Cllr Danny Myers called for the immediate resignation of Cllr Aspden in the wake of the damning public interest report into the £400K payout to former chief executive Mary Weastell.
“The independent report findings confirm what Labour has already said about the council leader’s role in the Lib Dems’ bumper payoff scandal; Cllr Aspden’s position is untenable and he must resign immediately for the good of the council and the city,” Cllr Myers said.
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“The fact this issue has been classed as warranting a public interest report is hugely significant, reserved only for failings so significant that the public must be made aware within 28 days.
“Anyone with the honour of leading this great city must act with integrity and professionalism and yet this isn’t the first time the whiff of sleaze has become associated with the Council Leader’s conduct.
“If we disregard this latest example and others, then it sends the message that senior ruling councillors can operate by their own set of rules, and that would be quite wrong.
“The independent report findings confirm what the viewing public has known for some time; in the words of the independent auditors: the Lib Dem council leader ‘prioritised political interests’ in the use of public funds.
“The auditors further question the legality of the £400k+ severance payment made to the former chief executive and that the council leader ‘had a clear personal interest’ and should ‘have left the room when the matter was considered’.
“It’s difficult to think this independent report could be any more damaging to this administration and to the council as a whole in terms of how it is being run at the highest level.”