Friday brief: Email reveals Marzec requested legal advice that said her own promotion was ok
Plus legal advice given to police, fire and crime commissioners office about controversial fire chief appointment is published
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Email reveals Marzec requested legal advice that said her own promotion was ok
Departed ‘chief fire officer’ Nicci Marzec was the person to ask for the legal advice about whether she could gain the huge promotion without the say so of the police, fire and crime panel, new published documents have shown.
In an email between Marzec and East Midlands Legal Services, from June 27, Marzec was told that ‘if you are simply acting as head of paid staff on an interim basis pending the appointment of a permanent head, then it should not be necessary for you to have to undergo a confirmation hearing.’
The date of the email, a week before the sudden departure of former fire chief Mark Jones, also calls into question Mold’s claims about how quickly he had to act to appoint Marzec. Her appointment was announced on July 7. At the time of her appointment she had the role of monitoring officer and head of service for the commissioner’s office.
It also shows that she had intended to be in post for 12 months.
Commissioner Mold did not consult with the chair of the panel, Cllr David Smith and it subsequently transpired the advice he was given by East Midlands Legal Services was incorrect and he should by law have put Marzec’s appointment before the panel to ratify.
Marzec’s appointment caused huge concern as she had no operational fire experience and was also a close friend of the commissioner, who has since admitted he has stayed over at Marzec’s home, but has denied a relationship.
She left the role after ten days in post and days later quit her job as chief of his office.
Mold will be questioned by the panel at a meeting in Northampton on September 7 about how he handled the matter. The Fire Brigades Union had made repeated calls for him to stand down.
News in brief
The Wellingborough town councillor arrested by Northamptonshire Police on hate crime suspicions has a history of making abusive comments on social media.
Anthony Stevens was arrested by the county’s force on August 8 on suspicion of distributing written material to stir up racial hatred.
He has been released on bail pending further enquiries.
His arrest was made public by his friend North Northamptonshire County councillor, King Lawal, who has himself caused offence this summer after he tweeted on the social media platform now known as X, that pride was a sin. He later went on to confirm he considered homosexuality sinful and was kicked off of several boards he had been part of and suspended by the national Conservative party.
Stevens has spoken to the national newspaper Daily Telegraph about his arrest and both he and Lawal are being supported by the Christian Legal Centre.
Stevens’ arrest has gained national attention and Northamptonshire’s chief constable Nick Adderley has said he has commissioned a review into the circumstances, following criticism of the councillor’s arrest on X.
However Stevens, who was elected to the town council in 2021, has a history of abusive social media posts.
Posting under the name of Ant the Rant, in July he responded to a post by Green Party MP for Brighton Caroline Lucas about the Ulez expansion:
“ Your not an MP in London so stick to your constituency f*** that up all you like the idiots voted for you”
The same month he told a Labour party member who was commenting on a tweet by journalist Andrew Neil about Nigel Farage’s Coutts bank account closure:
There are also several other expletive littered sentences on his X account.
NN Journal understands complaints have been made about Cllr Stevens’ posts and so we contacted the town council’s clerk Sally McLellan who said that any complaints about code of conduct against a councillor are dealt with by the unitary council.
We contacted the authority to ask how many complaints had been made about Cllr Stevens and what action is being taken and we are awaiting a response.
The unitary authority has been accused by the Labour deputy leader Cllr Leanne Buckingham, of being slow to act on conduct matters.
The authority’s monitoring officer is in charge of assessing the complaint and appointing an independent person to carry out an investigation if it meets the threshold.
NN Journal has attempted to contact Cllr Stevens for comment.
Staffing issues at North Northamptonshire Council were once more on the agenda at the full council meeting last night.
There was criticism by some councillors of the working environment, with the authority seeing a number of experienced staff leave since it started up two years ago. It also is carrying hundreds of vacancies and spending about £2m per year on agency staff.
Labour cllr John McGhee said he had spoken with staff about their jobs and had to do so outside of the office environment because they were scared to speak out.
Green party councillor Emily Fedorowycz also said the authority had to look at its pay gap between the authority’s highest and lowest earnest.
And Labour’s Cllr Zoe McGhee said she had carried out a Google search of the average chief executive and said it was £111,000. Interim chief executive George Candler’s salary is more than £170,000.
A body in the search for missing poet Gboyega Odubanjo has been found. Gboyega went missing at the Shambala Festival which was held at Kelmarsh over the bank holiday weekend. Police had been carrying out an extensive search when they found a body just before 9am yesterday morning.
The poet, 27, from Bromley, South London, was studying for a PHD and had won awards for his poetry. Police have said there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.
🍻 Brigstock is holding its annual beer festival tonight and tomorrow from 7pm at the village hall.
🎶 Newton Faulkner is performing at the Black Prince in Northampton tonight from 7pm.
👏 Comedy at the Plaza is happening at the Cozy Nook, Thrapston tomorrow from 6pm.