At the full Council meeting on 20 March, Graham’s Petition was submitted, calling for an independent inquiry into the golden goodbye of £70,000 paid to former chief executive Anna Klonowski. The Petition had been signed by 1824 people, many of them in Westbury and Henleaze.
It is disappointing that such a Petition is needed. The circumstances reflect poorly on the city, the city council and the mayor. It is astounding that someone who served as chief executive so briefly and then left on a voluntary basis should have received a golden goodbye of £70,000. Worse still, this payment was not required by the terms of a contract. So contractual terms were not the reason for this payment, but no other explanation has been offered – and it is not for want of asking. Mistakes and misjudgements can be made, but history shows that trying to cover them up makes matters worse, not better.
Graham says, “I collected many of these signatures myself. People were concerned and angry, in particular some residents told me that it would take them several years to earn £70,000. They find it difficult to understand why such a large amount could be handed out so casually. Yet again the Labour Party has let down those it claims to fight for.”
We still need an independent inquiry. This would bring the true facts into the light, and enable us to judge the mayor’s actions in an informed way. At present, rumour and speculation are rife which is bad for the mayor, bad for the city council and bad for Bristol.