£800 per week... to save money!

A CONSULTANT is being paid up to £800 a week by Market Rasen Town Council to carry out a review of the authority’s “one and a half members of staff,” which had already been done once for free.

Last week, the council’s responsible financial officer (RFO), Graham Parish, who voluntarily completed a staff review and had been running the council in recent months as acting town clerk due to maternity leave, quit, stating that he felt he had been stabbed in the back.

Mr Parish said that when the council had needed him, members had approached him on “bended knee,” but that when he was not needed he was told at barely any notice by the consultant that his working hours would be halved.

The consultant has been employed by the town council since November, and following a Freedom of Information request by the Market Rasen Mail, we can reveal that she was paid up to £800 per week to “observe staff,” and complete a review.

But Mr Parish said he had already carried out a staff review in his own time and his recommendations were largely the same as the consultant’s.

He said: “When I was asked to cover as town clerk in October a councillor came over to my house on bended knee to ask if I would increase my hours. When the clerk came back they just cast you aside.

“I had already done a report on the staff review voluntarily on my own time and I came out with almost the same recommendations

“The consultant was originally employed to move forward on the staff review I had already done. She was employed for 55 hours to observe staff. You have one and a half staff in the office, it’s not rocket science. All this town council has is a Market Place, two recreation grounds and a public building. How hard does it have to be?”

This week a statement from the town council said: “Market Rasen Town Council recently undertook a staffing review.

“Like all councils in these challenging times we need to find ways of cutting costs.

“During a recent consultation into managing costs, a letter was received from Graham Parish tendering his resignation.

“Graham, as the Responsible Finance Officer, has been a valued member of the team.

“On behalf of the Town Council, we would all like to thank him very much for his hard work within the specific role at the council, and we will hopefully be able to continue to work with Graham through his wider activity within the community.”

Mayor Ken Bridger also expressed his sadness at Mr Parish’s departure from the council.

Deputy Mayor Steve Bunney said: “I do not think there is much we can say other than we are regretful and we will have to look at the way forward with the HR committee.

“It is with unanimous regret that we hear of Graham’s resignation.”