Council director's anger at redundancy

AN OUTRAGED council director has branded his employers "disgraceful" after claiming they ended his 15 years' service in an exit interview lasting just five minutes.

AN OUTRAGED council director has branded his employers "disgraceful" after claiming they ended his 15 years' service in an exit interview lasting just five minutes.

Steve Palframan, director of leisure services at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, is now considering legal action after being told on Wednesday his services were no longer required as councillors decided to reshuffle the corporate management structure.

While his bosses remained silent on the subject, Mr Palframan, who is the only person to be made redundant in the wake of the new proposals, yesterday vented his anger and said he was devastated by the council's decision.

He said: "After 15-and-a-half years serving St Edmundsbury, and achieving an awful lot, I think it is absolutely disgusting.


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"I think the fact I was told in a five-minute interview that my job was coming to an end and there was no alternative employment was disgraceful."

In July, councillors opted to replace the existing chief officers with corporate directorates in line with last year's new leader and cabinet political system.

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Mr Palframan applied for the position of corporate director for community but said his application was hindered by a recent car crash in China, which has left him currently blind in one eye.

He said: "Prior to the interview, I wrote to the chief executive about the interview process because of what had happened.

"But I had to go through a 13-hour assessment and a formal interview the next day and I was obviously not at my best.

"The new job was mainly leisure services with a little bit of housing and environment health and safety – the bulk of what I am already doing at the moment.

"It is so close to the job I am already doing that I am now considering legal action, which is one option open to me at the moment."

Mr Palframan, whose three months notice of termination begins on Monday , was offered garden leave but he revealed he was determined to continue doing a professional job until January.

The position was instead given to current acting director of environmental health and housing Mike Dawson while existing director for planning and transportation Jerry Massey is the new corporate director for economy and environment.

Mr Palframan is currently the only victim of the council's restructuring cull, which is set to save them about £70,000.

He said: "The decision to rationalise senior management has taken ten months. This process has so far cost a huge amount of money and it is a joke when we are trying to save council tax payers' money."

Mr Palframan joined the council in 1988 to help set up a directorate of leisure. He said he was particular proud of his work over the last 15 years in opening and improving country parks, public buildings and museums.

A big regret was that he would not be around during a burgeoning time within leisure services.

Mr Palframan said: "The leisure services department has such a huge agenda at the moment with the public building on the cattle market, transferring leisure centres to trusts and the Magna Carta celebrations.

"We have such a huge amount of work and what you don't do at this point in time is get rid of your chief staff. The whole process has just been devastating."

Officials at St Edmundsbury Borough Council were yesterday remaining tight-lipped as to why Mr Palframan was the only chief officer to lose his job.

They also refused to comment on the work he has done in his 15 years within the borough council while a press release regarding the change in structure also did not mention Mr Palframan's departure.

Instead a spokeswoman said: "By law, details about individual members of the council are not for public information and we cannot comment further."

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