Chief Executive, Mr James, in his witness statement to the police last year, accused me of saying that he had been 'tampering with documents before a tribunal'. In fact, what I had said, here, was that this had been an allegation made several years ago when he was employed by Boston Borough Council. The reason why I made the comment is set out below.
From time to time this blog has mentioned a few of the legacies left at Boston Borough Council following the departure of its chief executive, Mr Mark James in 2001 to Carmarthenshire. One of the main, and well publicised legacies, was a stadium which, as Mr James said at its inception, wouldn't cost the taxpayers a penny. He was quite right, it didn't cost them a penny, it cost them millions.
Aside from stadiums, the text of an Affidavit copied and partially anonymised below, dated 1997, makes some very serious allegations about Mr James, who was, at the time of the events described, the head of legal. As you can see it is a sworn statement, an affidavit, and the full copy has been in my possession for some time.
Enquiries with Boston Council confirmed that documents relating to all these matters had long since been destroyed so, whatever the case, it seems that the matters will remain a mystery. However, additional enquiries with some of those named confirm the integrity of the writer and none cast aspersions on the genuine nature of the document.
As for Mr James, in court he 'couldn't remember' relatively recent events so I'm sure that whatever transpired in Boston are long erased from memory...
You can make your own mind up, but given my experience, and the experiences of others, including Carmarthenshire staff and whistleblowers, over the past few years, I know what I think.
I, Ms A, of xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Lincolnshire MAKE OATH and say as follows;
1. I was employed by Boston Borough Council from 1985 until May 1997 when I was retired on the grounds of ill-health. During my period of employment I was engaged in various posts, but from 1992 until my retirement I was employed in the Personnel Section.
2. During the period August/September 1993 various members of staff were interviewed regarding the restructuring of certain departments. Included in these interviews was Officer A who was employed as Assistant Solicitor to the Council. I was present throughout his interview with Mark James (Director of Administration and Legal Services) and Officer B (Director of Finance). It was clear from the discussion which took place after the interview that Mark James did not want Officer A to continue to be employed by the Council in any capacity.
3. Officer A was made redundant by the Council sometime between September 1993 and May 1994. Officer A subsequently took his case to an Industrial Tribunal, the hearing of which commenced on the 16th May 1994. One of the arguments put forward by Officer A was that the Council had never written to him offering a particular post and with details of the job specification.
4. The day before the hearing of the Industrial Tribunal, Officer C the then Personnel Manager (and my immediate superior officer) told me that Mark James had given instructions that I was to type a letter addressed to Officer A offering him a particular post with the Council, and enclosing with it a job description. I was told that the instructions from Mark James were that the letter was to be back-dated to a date in September 1993. I told Officer C that what I was being asked to do was wrong and I was not prepared to comply with Mr James' instructions. I was informed that if I did not comply with such instructions it was very likely that I would be dismissed. As I was in fear of losing my job I carried out the instruction, but to safeguard myself I typed on the disc containing the letter words to the effect that "this letter was actually typed on the .....". I was told to file a copy of the letter on the appropriate file in date order but that the original was to be destroyed.
5. I am informed that at Officer A's Industrial Tribunal, Mr James gave evidence on oath that the letter in question had been typed and sent to Officer A in September 1993. This was not possible as Mr James knew full well that I did not type the letter until May 1994.
6. I have to say that when passing on the instructions from Mr James, Officer C was also very concerned that what I had been told to do was not correct, and as a result of him refusing to carry out tasks of a similar nature thereafter Officer C was squeezed out of his post on payment of compensation.
7. In view of the above information, Mr James appears to have;
a) Instructed a member of staff to carry out an act which he knew as unlawful in its intent.
b) Destroyed the original of a letter, or gave specific instructions for its destruction, knowing that it was vital evidence in a case against the Council and
c) Deliberately lied under oath at an Industrial Tribunal by saying that a letter had been sent to Officer A in September 1993 knowing that such a letter had not been typed until May 1994.
8. In November 1994 a Personnel Assistant (Officer D) was appointed. From the very beginning she harassed me in various ways, and on many occasions this harassment was of a sexual nature. This harassment seriously affected my health, and by October 1996 I had had enough. I accordingly saw Mark James and reported to him some six or seven complaints of a serious nature against both Officer D and my departmental head, Officer E. Mr James did not want to know, and merely told me to repeat my allegations to Officer E (one of the perpetrators) for him to deal with. I could not believe that as the Director of the Council fully responsible for staff matters and the Monitoring Officer, and in view of the seriousness of the allegations, he did not commence an immediate investigation.
9. Two days after my interview with Mark James I had to see my doctor because of the stressful affect the actions described were having on my health. My doctor issued a certificate, and I did not return to work after that date.
10. There are both current and former members of staff who can verify that the facts I have stated above are correct. Officer C has confirmed to me that he is prepared to attend any inquiry to confirm the facts regarding the typing of the backdated letter. If I am given access to the discs in the Personnel Department I can easily identify the one containing the letter and my note thereon. This is providing the disc has not been destroyed.
Sworn before a Commissioner for Oaths, and signed by both.