At a meeting tomorrow Thanet Council will secretly approve a “mediation payment for a former employee”. The law requires that payouts to staff above £100,000 must be approved by a vote of all elected councillors. My guess is that this payment will probably be more like 200k than £100K.
I believe that former employee X was a victim of bullying by disgraced ex-TDC Chief Executive Madeline Homer and her boyfriend, former Corporate Director, Gavin Waite and certainly X deserves signifcant compensation for his terrible ordeal.
That Homer and Waite were workplace bullies has been confirmed by several independent investigators. I have previously made their reports public.
However, the cost of Homer and Waite’s bullying, which took place over several years, has never been made public by the council. This is something I have been trying to find out about since the disgraced duo Homer and Waite left the council last year. As you will have probably guessed, lover of secrecy and enemy of transparency, Thanet Council, has been resisting my efforts every step of the way.
That being said, with the payment of X it’s now possible to draw a line under Homer and Waite’s regime of bullying, victimization, and humiliation and put together a reasonably accurate estimate of how much this disreputable duo has cost you the taxpayer.
Based on information already in the public domain and some educated guesses, I estimate that the total cost of Homer and Waite’s bullying to the council and its taxpayers is 2,580,000.
This is probably the most expensive example of bullying and it consequences in local government history. What makes me furious is that this appalling episode could have been avoided had politicians acted against Homer, Waite and others much sooner.
It is indisputably the case, as has been noted by investigators, that former Tory and Labour council leaders Bob Bayford and Rick Everitt knew all about the bullying but dragged their feet in stopping it sooner, allowing the bad behavior to continue and its costs to rack up.
To the Council’s shame it is also the case that having been presented with powerful evidence of bullying the bullies themselves were well rewarded by the council for their despicably degrading antics.
The question must be asked why on 8th June 2020 Tory, Labour and Green councillors voted to award Homer with a reported handout of £327,000 and Waite later trousered a reported £73,000 after one of his victims is said to have withdrawn serious allegations of, I believe, a discriminatory and/or a harrassing nature.
I can understand why many boss class supporting Tory councillors would have had no problem throwing cash at this despotic duo, but I struggle to understand why Green and Labour Party councillors who are supposed to be on the side of the workers and their employment rights, shamefully and spinelessly voted to reward the people who had mercilessly bullied them, instead of sacking the culprits without a penny.
Just Like #metoo and the campaign against sexual discrimination, harassment and violence against women and girls, and campaigns against race discrimination, harassment and racist inspired violence, there can be no compromise with cover ups, or payoffs, of workplace bullies. This is clearly a lesson yet to be learned by the so-called progressive councillors of Thanet's Labour and Green parties.
Don’t forget just how neanderthal some of these councillors really are. It was Labour councillor Harry Scobie who pathetically prostrated himself in front of Homer, calling her the local papers the best Chief Executive he had worked with in his 1,000 years of being an un-notable and inconsequential Thanet Councillor.
It was Labour Councillor Steve Albon who is said to have licked Homers poo hole by bigging her up in a groveling 10 minute eulogy at the meeting which paid her £327,000 for bullying her staff.
I have saved the most important bit to last. Whist the total cost of Homer and Waite’s bullying was around £2,580,000 this is not the real cost. Far from it.
The real cost cannot be valued in money. It is the huge cost to the mental health of Homer and Waite’s many victims and the cost to their friends and families who supported them. I have met some of the victims and they all say that they had some very dark times and some very dark thoughts.
One final word, without a number of brave whistleblowers and without the intervention of the trade unions and the occasional councillor with principles especially former councillors Piper and Ashbee, bloggers like the late Steve Coombs and the media who covered the saga, Homer and Waite would likely be still in post and the bullying still rife.
Its my belief that the payments to Homer and Waite were unlawful and that the council should be taking legal action to recover their ill-gotten bullying blood money.
I will be submitting my case to the council’s auditors when 2022/23 accounts are open for inspection.
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