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Version #2, 14 October 18:00

So, Hail King Roger

Roger Parkin to be Council's chief executive

Report and photographs: Paul Janik
Mr Roger Parkin

A controversial council director has been selected, in worrying circumstances, as Slough Council's next chief executive.

However, 55 years-old Roger Parkin's assumed coronation is encountering growing resistance from councillors in all political parties.

A majority of 42 councillors (33 Labour, 8 Conservative and 1 UKIP) will decide Mr Parkin's fate.

Angry unease is spreading among councillors, council staff and members of the public that impressive, better qualified and more capable candidates have unfairly been excluded and those on the short-list were unfairly eliminated to deliberately favour Mr Parkin.

Concerns are being expressed that the selection panel membership was rigged by the panel chairman Cllr Sohail Munawar.

Mr Munawar is thought by many to be a too friendly with and too close to Mr Parkin to make an objective appraisal of Mr Parkin's merits and abilities.

Allegations are emerging that Mr Munawar ignored the professional advice of the external consultants and from the Labour dominated Local Government Association ('LGA').

We understand the the LGA gentleman, a remote relative of Sohail Munawar, advising Slough Council on the selection process, is said to be privately furious with the decision to chose Mr Parkin.

Councillors have alleged a past Slough Council chief executive, who resigned in 2007, Cheryl Coppell from Windsor, has been training Mr Parkin to pass all the tests. Earlier this year Mr Parkin told the Slough Times that he was very grateful to Cheryl Coppell during her Slough tenure, for sending him on courses and promoting him.

Councillors from all parties are united in demanding:-

  1. The vote for or against Mr Parkin becoming chief executive, must be held in public so the residents and the press can witness the event.
  2. Every councillor shall have their name and their vote recorded.
  3. Because voting for a chief executive is not a Labour Party policy, the Labour leadership must not demand or bully councillors to vote in a certain way.

The councillors' meeting that formally appointed the previous chief executive Ruth Bagley, O.B.E., was held in secret with the press and public excluded.

Chief Executive Selection Panel

The panel, also known as the Appointments Sub-committee, has 5 councillors and no one else.

The selection panel are:-

None of the above councillors has the requisite business acumen to interview, question and examine the candidates to select those possessing the necessary skills, leadership, tenacity and above all the personal commitment to transform Slough Council from a badly managed, wasteful and corrupt local authority into a vibrant and fit-for-purpose council truly dedicated to professionally serving the people and businesses of Slough.

For far too long, Slough Council's chief executives have lacked the required skills and abilities.

The Slough Times believes the following councillors should have been included because we believe they are much more suitable than Mr Munawar, Mrs Holledge and Mrs Sarfraz:-

Conversely:-

  • Mr Munawar, the sender of allegedly obscene videos from his council supplied mobile phone and he gave an employee's whistle-blowing complaint to the man complained about – Roger Parkin
  • Mrs Sarfraz, a new and inexperienced councillor with one year's experience
  • Mrs Holledge, unfortunately has health problems

On the premise the panel's membership was not as strong as it could have been, why did the Leader of Slough Council, Mr Munawar, chose a less than optimum panel ? What was his motive ?

There is no limit on the quantity of selection panel councillors. Why did Mr Munawar restrict the councillors who could take part ? What was his motive for excluding councillors who could have made a positive and beneficial contribution ?

The Slough Times is concerned by what appears to be the crowning of King Roger and question his suitability as an employee of Slough Unitary Authority.

Sources have told the Slough Times of:

  • Allegations of corruption involving Mr Parkin.
  • Allegation Mr Parkin called the previous chief executive, Ruth Bagley, a bitch.
  • Allegation Mr Parkin on at least two occasions shouted at the previous chief executive Ruth Bagley saying the F* word and threatening to smash her head-in (or punch her in the face or words to the same or similar effect)
  • Allegation Mr Parkin was sent on an anger management course – unknown if he attended.
  • Allegation Mr Parkin gave a top council job to a drinking chum
  • Allegation Mr Parkin has a serious gambling addiction
  • Allegations Mr Parkin had at least two long relationships with women employees and failed to declare either of them
  • Allegations Mr Parkin on Whats App called a decent councillor a fuckwit and made other demeaning comments about council staff.
  • Allegation in some tests, Mr Parkin's score was conspicuously lower than some other candidates.

Please note an allegation is someone's claim. Just because someone has made an allegation, it does NOT mean whatever they said is true. Allegations can be wrong, can be half-true and can be correct.

In the Slough Times' honest and sincerely held opinion, Mr Parkin lacks the required ability for the demanding task of being a competent Slough Council chief executive.

This occasion was a wonderful opportunity to improve the council with invigorating, dynamic and inspirational leadership. Sadly, to everyone's detriment, that will not, and can not, happened with Mr Parkin.

We think the selection result stinks and we specifically blame Cllr Sohail Munawar, the Leader of Slough Council and the chairman of the selection panel.

We think all applicants for this important vacancy should be re-considered by a re-constituted panel omitting Mr Munawar for being too personally close to Mr Parkin and Mrs Holledge, whom we wish well, on health grounds.

Mr Munawar's relations should not be involved in any aspect of the selection, neither should council staff who have formed a long-term and very loyal friendship with Mr Parkin (identity available if required).

5 business men or women, local to Slough, who currently run their own successful businesses should become voting members on the selection panel. Their input will make a vital and invaluable contribution to a genuinely satisfactory and confidence inspiring chief executive selection contest.

A superior and better selection panel should comprise 5 councillors and 5 experienced and successful business people. That should eliminate the suspicion of corrupt practises.

We have heard many allegations detrimental to Mr Parkin from councillors and from staff who told us they are too scared to speak-out publicly.

None of the allegations has been tested in a court of law, so they remain unproven claims.

Repeatedly hearing serious allegations about Mr Parkin created a dilemma for the Slough Times. Should we do what the conventional newspapers do, and keep the allegations secret and unchallenged or should we ask Mr Parkin to give his version of events ?

Twice before we have put corruption allegations directly to Mr Parkin and showed him the text of the allegations. On both occasions Mr Parkin did not comment but he could have done.

On Friday 13 October 2017, in our email timed 15:14:33 +0100, we put a number of questions to Mr Parkin. All referred to the many allegations. Six hours later, having again received no response from Mr Parkin, we published our article.

We think that if any of the allegations were untrue Mr Parkin would say something such as lies or distortions or untrue. Instead we got complete silence.

As a respected publisher of local news, we have a moral and a civic duty to challenge those in authority whenever we encounter what seems to be misconduct or worse. The repeated allegations worry us. We think they are serious and not trivial.

In the public interest we believe these often repeated, from different sources, allegations should be exposed so that anyone can challenge them, deny them or correct them.

If the allegations are false, then let everyone know they are wrong and should not be repeated.

We mean no disrespect to Mr Parkin but we think it is morally wrong to keep ignoring the many allegations made about him. They are grave matters of legitimate public concern and of legitimate public interest. If the allegations are wrong, we will be the first to condemn them.

If Mr Parkin or anyone else wishes to deny these, unproven in a court-of-law, assertions or wish to augment them, please do contact us.


Saturday 14 October 2017

Agree whole heartedly with this report. Good work Paul, keep reporting.

Wednesday 25 October 2017

He is still married