Former chiefs 'should be quizzed on school fiasco'

By Emily Pearce

Monday, April 7, 2014


UPDATED 16.30*

CALLS have been made for former Isle of Wight Council bosses David Pugh and Steve Beynon to answer questions about the Cowes Enterprise College fiasco.

At last Thursday's meeting of the council's scrutiny committee, members said the former leader and chief executive — who were in charge when the £32m project was hit by repeated delays and criticism over poor contract management and shoddy construction work — should be invited to a future meeting and quizzed about the debacle.

Cllr Bob Blezzard said: "The people who were ultimately responsible at political and director level, David Pugh and Steve Beynon, should be invited back. We can't compel them but we should ask them."

However, Mr Pugh told the County Press he had no intention of attending any meetings.

Executive member for education and children's services Cllr Richard Priest said Mr Pugh and Mr Beynon would also be welcome to attend a public meeting to discuss the ongoing problems with the building.

"I recognise there may be a need for scrutiny of those individuals and what happened. People need to be held to account for the promises they made, and I'm sure they would want to justify their actions," he said.

Referring to the suspension of officers Janet Newton and John Brocklehurst, both of whom were cleared of any wrongdoing regarding the project and paid an undisclosed settlement, Mr Pugh said: "I stopped being publicly accountable when I ceased to hold public office.

"It is for the Independent leadership of the council to explain on what grounds they exonerated the two senior officers, on whose watch this major project was not delivered on time, on budget or fit-for-purpose, leaving this legacy of problems.

"Given these officers were in receipt of undisclosed sums of public money when they were cleared, I am surprised the Independent administration did not require them to be publicly accountable for explaining what went wrong."

As reported in the County Press, a further £357,000 of taxpayers' cash looks set to be spent on the building, to repair some building defects and carry out further investigation works.

A further report, detailing the extent and cost of the work still required to bring the building up to scratch, is due to go before the executive next month. The council has admitted it may have to borrow money or sell buildings to foot the final repair bill.

Scrutiny committee member Cllr Ian Ward said he could not believe the contract had been signed, seemingly without any warranty or insurance provisions, while chairman Cllr Geoff Lumley said the project was 'a disaster'.

"It's more and more public money going down the swanny," he said.

* Mr Beynon contacted the County Press this afternoon to confim he would not attend a public meeting.

He said: "I do not intend to attend as I do not have all the relevant information and as no longer an employee of the IW Council have no entitlement to it."


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Displaying the last 10 of 43 comments - Show All Comments

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by Mike Crowe

10th April 2014, at 16:52:21

Only one catch?

Need to change the hook and bait, too many got away.

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by david wright

9th April 2014, at 20:23:04

Mr Crowe, Speaking in a language only known to you is also fairly worthless.
Thinking you are superior in interlect to others does not make it so.

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by Mike Crowe

9th April 2014, at 17:10:46

Number 3 hook and Ragworm :-)

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by david wright

9th April 2014, at 14:41:39

Mr Crowe,
If you are entitled to have that questionable opinion, why do you think other posters are not entitled to what they think?

I personally do not make character judgements based on a CP post and because i dont agree with someones opinion doesn't necessarily make them wrong!

I think reasoned argument to counter comments you do not agree with, is far more productive and possibly everyone might learn something.

Just saying 'could you do better' achieves nothing

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by Mike Crowe

9th April 2014, at 10:48:45

Mr Wright you have got to agree, that most of the posters on here picking holes in what other people do or are doing, couldn't organize a drinking session in a place where they brew beer.

Wannabees most, but with the 'not me chief' attitude. About the biggest decision they ever make is which leg to put through their pants first.


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by david wright

9th April 2014, at 10:23:09

@ Mike Crowe,
I'm flattered you read my comment well enough to then repeat my comment regarding my opinion?

I agree on serious issues people do want to express their views on matters important to them. It is a shame you feel the need to try and undermine their right to opinion with 'could you do better' as a method of resolution to the issue.

When you attempt to use the 'do better then or shut up' argument i would point out those being criticized in council roles put themselves up for public office and by definition considered they had the skills for the job. Surely that is allowed to be questioned, especially in circumstances such as this where public money has been thrown away and apparently contracts signed without proper conditions ?

I agree this forum can be amusing at times but often the issues are not.

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by Mike Crowe

9th April 2014, at 07:47:09

Mr Wright, your opinion is rather like a lot of others on here isn't it? Worthless! ...................... But they 'feel' important :-)

As I was saying over the weekend to someone who reads these comments, "Good for a laugh"


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by david wright

9th April 2014, at 00:53:42

@ Mike Crowe
I have never been a psychiatrist so obviously my opinion is worthless but Mr Crowe i think you have let your marbles out of the bag.

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by mark johnson

8th April 2014, at 21:06:58

@Mike Crow. Mike, don't rise to these people baiting you...your ticker won't take it and then you'll be in a whole lot of trouble yourself!

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by Mike Crowe

8th April 2014, at 20:48:00

Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a quay and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
It's rare lea ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
It's letter perfect awl the weigh
My chequer tolled me sew

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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