Sunday, 15 September 2019
Friday, 2 December 2016
Original article
Update #1
Update #3 The Pay-off

Update 2: Ruth Bagley's hopes fade for
massive council pay-off

Councillors unwilling to reward misconduct with public's cash

Reporter: Paul Janik

Time is fast running-out for suspended Slough Unitary Authority chief executive Ruth Elizabeth Bagley to either resign or extract a £400,000 council pay-off.

If neither happens, councillors will debate in public whether to dismiss Mrs Bagley following multiple complaints about her conduct. That will happen at the next council meeting on Tuesday, 31 January 2017.

The Bagley investigation

Escorted-out of the council's St Martin's Place headquarters on Friday 15 July 2016 and, on the doorstep, made to hand-over her council ID badge, council mobile phone, council keys etc., 57 years-old Ruth Bagley went "sick" about a week later.

Keen to handle the Bagley affair with impeccable correctness, councillors scrupulously avoided all involvement preferring to let the senior staff conduct the disciplinary process.

A source claims Mrs Bagley told others she felt personally humiliated because subordinate upstarts had thrown her out. If Mrs Bagley disagrees with this allegation the Slough Times shall be delighted to publish Mrs Bagley's own recollection of events.

Senior council staff appointed an independent panel of external people to supervise a very detailed investigation into Mrs Bagley's troubling conduct. That investigation is being undertaken by an independent professional investigator.

Witnesses questioned told the Slough Times they underwent a long and thorough interview which was recorded. At the end, witnesses signed a summary of their evidence.

The Slough Times understands all the witness interviews, of council staff and outsiders, were completed in October 2016. However the investigator's report is being delayed by the de facto unwillingness of the accused person, Ruth Bagley, to be interviewed. The Slough Times understands Mrs Bagley may unfortunately be "too ill" or perpetually "unavailable" to be interviewed.

Despite her alleged ill health, it is believed Mrs Bagley has been busy attempting to get a job in the private sector. Property companies, private health and large service companies are among those approached.

Bagley's dilemma

If the independent investigator's report is unable to include Mrs Bagley's own version of events which, in theory, might exonerate her, then that important and impartial report will contain only evidence against her - meaning it will have nothing to mitigate or explain Mrs Bagley's conduct.

When that report is submitted to the external independent and impartial 3-persons panel, Mrs Bagley's failure to defend herself will inevitably diminish her chances of being declared innocent.

The Slough Times thinks Mrs Bagley is not stupid enough to take that grave risk, especially as the panel's recommendations and the full report will be shown to all 42 councillors prior to the next council meeting.

Mrs Bagley's other options are:-

  1. Win the National Lottery or the Euro Lottery and end her unhappy, and grossly overpaid, involvement at Slough council whilst cherishing her Council Tax payers funded two trips to China to make Slough a better place; or
  2. Resign and avoid the report being given to the panel, to all 42 councillors and some council staff; or
  3. Force, using a combination of pressure from her lawyers and from her few council supporters, the Leader of the Council to give her a massive pay-off at a secret meeting, with the press and public excluded, and without the approval or involvement of the majority of Slough's elected councillors.

The Slough Times believes at this moment option 3 is Mrs Bagley's preferred choice. However some local people are considering a public protest against any pay-off to a chief executive they consider unfit for public office.

It is unlikely the Bagley investigation report will be disclosed to the public, whose Council Tax payments are funding it, unless councillors agree that because of Mrs Bagley's job as Slough Council's top civil servant, her large and generous salary package amounting to £186,000 of benefits every year and the seriousness of the complaints against her, it is in the public interest to tell the public what has been happening at their local council.

Pressure for a substantial pay-off

It is thought a secret pay-off would be supported by ousted former council leader Cllr Rob Anderson, widely regarded as Mrs Bagley's protector. Cllr Anderson has a long history of secretly approving many astronomical pay-offs of hundreds of thousands of pounds to predominantly inept failing senior staff. Minutes of those "Part 2" meetings, with the press and public excluded, are eventually destroyed.

The lack of transparency and public accountability together with contemporaneous allegations, made by Cllr Anderson appointed Cabinet members, that they were told they had to vote for the pay-offs perpetuates Slough's sleazy image to the detriment of the council's honest and decent workers.

Cllr Anderson's also ousted deputy leader, Cllr James Swindlehurst, and the lemmings-like members of the minority Anderson clique, are likely to support him.

In the Slough Times opinion, considerable pressure of a criminal nature is likely to be directed at Cllr Munawar, the current council leader, in the pursuit of a Bagley pay-off. The Slough Times has no knowledge whether Mrs Bagley is personally involved in the considerable pressure directed at her current employer and associated persons.

The Labour Party in Slough has a history of night-time visits to Labour Party councillors', and Labour activists', homes where considerable, and some times loud, shouting occurs whilst trying to force capitulation to the demands of the aggressive unwanted visitors. Disappointingly no one in Slough Labour has the guts to publicly expose and condemn their own bullies' obnoxious behaviour.