Labour Councillors have sent out a ‘missing person alert’ about the Council’s Chief Operating Officer, Barbara Moorhouse, following the Council’s repeated refusals to deny rumours that she has left the Council. So far, in response to questions about her whereabouts, Labour Councillors have been told that she is ‘on leave’, ‘on extended leave’ and ‘on gardening leave’.
Councillors have been told to contact Ms Moorhouse’s deputy for information about the Council’s finances. At this week’s meeting of the Council’s Audit Committee, Conservative Councillor Tim Mitchell said that at the next meeting “Barbara or her equivalent” should be there.
The ‘disappearance’ of Ms Moorhouse, the Council’s most senior Financial Officer, comes two months after the resignation of the Council’s Chief Executive, Mike More and the departures earlier this year of the Council’s Director of Adult Services, Andrew Webster, and the Council’s Director of Communications and Policy, Alex Aiken.
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said;
“Westminster City Council is in melt-down with the resignation of its Chief Executive and the ‘disappearance’ of Barbara Moorhouse, the Chief Operating Officer and architect of the Council’s finances. For the past few weeks we have been trying to track down the whereabouts of Ms Moorhouse but have been met with evasive and misleading replies. So, now we are sending out the ‘missing person alert’ to find out the whereabouts of Ms Moorhouse and whether she still works for the Council”.
“There seems to be a real climate of fear at City Hall these days. I have been on the Council since the early 1980’s and the current Conservative regime cannot fail to remind me of the time when Shirley Porter stalked the corridors of power, when Chief Executives were disposed of on a regular basis and scores of senior officers left the Council. It looks like it is a return to the bad old days”
“With another 10% cut in the Council’s budget, following the Chancellor’s announcement today, this is the worst possible moment for the Council’s top financial officer to go missing. It is time the Council came clean as to what is going on at City Hall.”