Canned Greenwich council worker Mark Riordan claims wrongful dismissal
A SENIOR manager at Greenwich Council is claiming wrongful dismissal after he was sacked for failing to tell his boss he had been suspended as a Met special officer.
Greenwich Council said the failure of Mark Riordan, the operational manager of the council’s youth offending team, to say he had been suspended as a volunteer inspector with Greenwich police caused them to lose trust and confidence in him as a manager and could have brought the council into disrepute.
He was dismissed last October, having been suspended at the start of February.
Mr Riordan, from Gillingham, was suspended by the police – for whom he volunteered for 26 years -in January last year over alleged fraudulent travel expenses claims.
Mr Riordan took the council to an employment tribunal in Croydon last Monday (July 30).
The council said that because the youth offending team works closely with the police it was “paramount” they were told as a “high priority”.
Mr Riordan argued that because it was only an internal investigation he had no obligation to tell his employers.
The council’s head of human resources strategy Joanne Meagher said: “There is an element of common sense that this was a clear conflict and clearly should have been raised.”
Mr Riordan said he did intend to tell his line manager, Audrey Johnson, when he returned from illness on February 1 but did not have the chance because work was very busy.
Both a disciplinary hearing in October and an appeal in January were sceptical that Mr Riordan would have mentioned his suspension.
Ms Meagher said: “I accept it was busy. I don’t accept he could not have come in early or made arrangements to talk to her.”
Greenwich Council has previously been made aware off-the-record by the police and suspended Mr Riordan on February 3 because he had not told them.
Mr Riordan said he was “horrified” that the police and council breached data protection rules in disclosing the information, which was dismissed by the council as a “red herring”.
At the end of the day-long hearing, judge Christopher Baron reserved his judgement to a later date.
- 1985 – Mr Riordan joins the Met’s special constabulary.
- 2006 – Mr Riordan becomes operational manager at Greenwich Council’s youth offending team. The council know of his police work and issue no guidance regarding any possible conflict of interest.
- January 13, 2011 – Chief Inspector Neil Myers calls Mr Riordan – off work with swine flu - for an urgent meeting.
- January 14, 2011 – Superintendent Hafford meets Mr Riordan at Plumstead police station to tell him he is being investigated for fraudulent travel expenses.
- January 19, 2011 – Mr Riordan is suspended by the police.
- January 20, 2011 – Mr Riordan is given is suspension notice at Eltham police station and was not given any further detail about the allegations.
- February 1, 2011 – Mr Riordan returns to work.
- February 2, 2011 – Chief Inspector Myers calls Mr Riordan to say he told Mr Price about his suspension. Ten minutes later, Mr Riordan’s boss Audrey Johnson calls him into a meeting about it.
- February 3, 2011 – Mr Riordan is suspended by Greenwich Council.
- March 2011 – The Met’s department of professional standards said the case file had been handed to the CPS with a view to prosecuting.
- July 2011 – The CPS said no charges would be brought.
- October 10, 2011 – Greenwich Council disciplinary meeting, chaired by Mr Price.
- October 13, 2011 – Mr Riordan is dismissed by Greenwich Council for gross misconduct.
- December 16, 2011 – An appeal hearing at Greenwich Council, chaired by the council’s head of human resources strategy, Joanne Meagher.
- January 26, 2012 – Mr Riordan’s appeal against his sacking by Greenwich Council not allowed.
- July 30, 2012 – Mr Riordan takes Greenwich Council to an employment tribunal claiming unfair dismissal. The judgement is reserved.