News Shorts & Other Busyness
Hackney TAT Man Suspended
Squall 9, Jan/Feb 1995, pg. 8.
The suspension of Hackney Council’s £55,000-a-year Director of Housing, Bernard Crofton in October 1994 has caused quite a stir in the borough. There have been suggestions that the council is covering up a report, written by Crofton, in which he claimed that illegal immigrants working for the council were abusing their positions and committing benefit frauds.
In November, The Guardian ran a feature on the history of the case. The piece was supportive of Crofton and the idea that he is being scapegoated because his investigations have uncovered frauds implicating senior council colleagues. Crofton and his cronies in the council claim there is massive job fraud in the borough; employees being appointed with fake references, employment histories and qualifications, in addition to a number of illegal immigrants amongst council staff.
These allegations sparked angry responses from those outraged that “illegal immigrants” should be held responsible for corruption within the housing department. Crofton and his much hated Tenancy Audit Team (whose attention, you may remember, strayed last year from council corruption to evicting large numbers of squatters with the aid of London Electricity and British Gas - See 'Hasty Hackney And The CJB' in SQUALL 7) attempted an investigation into all staff who had joined the housing directorate in the last two years. There was much opposition within the department to Crofton gaining access to largely confidential information. His ultimate mistake was an unsupported allegation of nepotism against Sam Yeboah, the personnel director. A council enquiry found no evidence of nepotism. Mr Yeboah accused Crofton of racial harassment and Jerry White, Hackney’s Chief Executive, finally suspended him on charges of racial harassment and gross misconduct.
Crofton’s disciplinary hearing, which began at the end of December, is being heard in secret by a sub-committee of five councillors, and is expected to run for about twelve days until the end of February. There is apparently pressure to complete the hearing before March, when Jerry White leaves Hackney for a senior local government position as a local authority ombudsman.
Council staff in the know have been told to keep quiet about details of the hearing or face one themselves.
Hackneyed Hypocrisy - Squatters battle Hackney Council's 'para-municipal' eviction squad. Squall 8, Autumn 1994.