IN the midst of local election fever, Milton Keynes Council has sacked one of its most important directors for misusing local authority assets.
Brian Sandom, a corporate director and former deputy chief executive, was dismissed after an internal investigation into the improper use of fleet vehicles.
The investigation is believed to have been sparked by enquiries from the Citizen following a whistleblower’s information revealing the council had spent thousands on two private hire cars over a two-year period.
At first a council spokesman insisted there was nothing amiss in its transport department.
But within hours of the Citizen query an emergency meeting was held with council bosses and Mr Sandom was suspended.
The investigation has taken several weeks and it is not known whether the council will be handing the findings to the police.
Ironically Mr Sandom was head of Organisational Transformation, a programme devised to help the council save money during its recent budget crisis. So far the scheme has resulted in the loss of 200 jobs.
Previously he was Corporate Director for the Environment, one of the authority’s most influential positions.
Mr Sandom, who lives in Nottinghamshire and drove to work, was suspended at the beginning of March but was due to retire at the end of the month.
His job was one of several scrapped almost 18 months ago during budget cuts agreed by councillors.
But instead of becoming redundant Mr Sandom remained on the payroll and was shifted to the OT programme.
Part of his duties was managing the council’s 250-strong fleet of cars and heavy machinery.
A council spokesman said: “We confirm that Mr Brian Sandom was dismissed.
“Mr Sandom was due to leave the council on March 31, 2012 as part of a planned reduction in the number of Corporate Directors.
“The dismissal of any employee resulting from a disciplinary situation supercedes any prior agreement and entitlement to redundancy payment.
“The council is committed to the recovery of all monies owed and arrangements are in hand for this to be pursued through the appropriate channels.”