Brighton and Hove council housing boss resigns

Posted On 27 Jul 2019 at 1:25 am

One of Brighton and Hove’s most senior council officials has resigned.

Larissa Reed

Larissa Reed is to leave her post as executive director of neighbourhoods, communities and housing at Brighton and Hove City Council.

Mrs Reed, 45, joined the council’s executive leadership team in late 2016 from Canterbury Council. She is not believed to have another job to go to.

She is understood to have been disappointed with the change of tack in dealing with a dispute with the GMB union which represents binmen, recycling staff and street cleaners at the council’s Cityclean depot in Hollingdean.

Although she has declined to comment about her decision to resign, a colleague said that she felt that all staff should be treated the same – so that claims about conduct should be dealt with consistently regardless of position and affiliation.

This is believed to refer to the way that GMB rep Dave Russell was allowed to return to work at the depot yesterday (Friday 26 July).

He had previously had restricted access – working from the GMB offices in Hove rather than at the depot – while the council looked into claims about his conduct. The investigation is being overseen by an independent outsider.

The council’s position changed in a report produced on Wednesday (24 July) and at an emergency meeting with leading councillors on Thursday morning (25 July) when it was agreed that Mr Russell could return to the depot.

The agreement averted a strike by the GMB which had been due to start on Monday (29 July) and end on Tuesday 6 August after the busy Brighton Pride weekend.

Mrs Reed said in an email to colleagues: “I’m emailing you to let you know that on Wednesday this week (24 July) I resigned from my position as executive director neighbourhoods, communities and housing.

“This decision has been very hard to make.

“I have been incredibly fortunate to work with a fantastic team and some very supportive councillors.

“I hope that by working together we have made positive changes and improvements for communities across the city.

“My leaving date has not yet been agreed. As soon as it is, along with the arrangements for leading the directorate, we will try and let you know.”

Another colleague described Mrs Reed as straight-speaking, good-humoured and principled, adding that she felt the political agreement that was finalised on Thursday undermined the executive leadership team as a whole.

  1. Martha Gunn Reply

    And so it begins.
    Platts and Momentum will force out a lot more talented and dedicated professionals.

    • Rolivan Reply

      Surely it is time for Momemtum to become a stand alone Party and not hoodwink Those that have been Labour supporters pre 2015.

  2. Lewis Seale Reply

    Once again I find myself asking – do labour care about the GMB or the city? They must not care about the leadership team in the council at all, many who are visibly hardworking. Shame on labour.

  3. Thomas Reply

    Personally I think it was the right call to compromise with GMB.

    A small price to pay to avert a highly damaging bin strike during the peak holiday / visitor season.

    I can’t see how this resignation helps and frankly the story is tomorrow’s chip paper.

  4. roy pennington Reply

    sounds like constructive dismissal:

  5. Valerie Reply

    Momentum cllrs dominate the Labour Group now and they are almost ALL complete novices within local Govt. They should be very careful of throwing their weight around before they have had time to take the measure of various officers so that the good are not sacrificed by mistake leaving the really, seriously bad ones even more powerfully embedded and protecting their own hides.

    Staff morale and the ability to recruit to BHCC is already an issue. The Planning Dept never recovered from what Labour did to it in 2005-7 by forcing through the Karis/Frank Gehry King Alfred planning application in spite of a dozen-signatue plea from planning officers to get off their backs. What Labour did then was scandalous. They were only undone when the scheme was abandoned because the ING backers withdrew support and nobody else would touch it!

    Sometimes going against officers is right. But time will tell if Labour are heading into kamikaze territory under Momentum or Making a Difference in a way that truly does benefit the many….and not just cronies.

  6. Gloria Vanderlay Reply

    Larissa is one of the best officers I’ve come across in many years of working for local government. A sad loss to the City. Knowing some of the background to this sorry state of affairs, things must have got really bad for Larissa to have made this decision. Cllr Platts has really made a huge mistake and one she will come to regret. Of course this is her Momentum handlers behind this.

  7. Binkie Boo Reply

    There’s far more to this than meets the eye. Larissa wouldn’t have resigned over something trivial. She is one of the best senior officers I’ve ever come across in many years of working in local government. Cllr Platts will regret forcing the hand of the Leadership Team on the orders of her Momentum handlers.

  8. Thomas Reply

    Personally I think I the council has been pragmatic and done the right thing in the interests of the city.

    It’s peak season for tourists and visitors – is it really sensible to put the city economy and reputation as jeopardy to make a point?!

    I don’t know Larissa Reid but if she is so easily offended as to resign when pragmatism triumphs over the dogmatic then I would say we are better off without her.

    I’m grateful to the council for resolving this without allowing things to descend into farce as happened several years back and we all suffered without any tangible outcome.

    Well done to cllrs and officers for a sensible outcome.

    • Valerie Reply

      Putting the city in jeopardy was clearly the threat and hiving in was like Chamberlain appeasing Hitler. Ruthless tactics do not necessarily reflect merit or justification.

      I reckon neither you, I or the novice Momentum cllrs know enough to judge but Snowflakes cllrs sacrificing Larissa Read to give in to bullying strike threats is not pragmatic decision making. Don’t expect replacing her to be easy

      • Brian H Reply

        Like Chamberlain appeasing Hitler … err I think your analogy is a way off the mark here!!

  9. MegA Reply

    Pity. Larissa was one of the few among senior offiers who actually listened to people in the community. Se was tethered like Gulliver and rsited at every turn in her attempts to reform a very, very dysfuntional, less than honest department.

  10. SamC Reply

    “Can do” Nancy is now Has Done Nancy!

  11. PickledPlumb Reply

    I predicted last week that the Senior Officers were already job hunting, I wasn’t expecting it to happen so soon.

    Well done Can-Do Nancy. So desperate to appease her GMB paymasters, she’s lost one of the best officers in the Council.

    Although surely the ridiculous Kate Landlord Knight’s actions in putting voluntary sector grants at risk must have contributed to Larissa’s decision.

    The council has far more union reps then any comparable council. The idea that someone can behave appallingly towards other staff, get suspended and STILL return to his place of work … that’s some mental gymnastics in defending that.

    No one will notice if wet lettuce Geoff Raw quits, but if the other senior directors go, it will be worse then the Greens. And it took them 3 years to truly f**k things up.

    Oh and Brighton looks like an absolute tip again today.

  12. fed-up with Brighton politics Reply

    PickledPlumb obviously knows more about the Dave Russell issue than the local taxpayers are permitted to know (that’s disgusting in itself), and, frankly, it is about time that somebody/anybody gave the residents some true facts about what has been going on. Are you up for a leak, PickledPlumb??

    Having worked for many years in a quasi-public sector operation that eventually went private, I never understood why there were many union reps on site who were paid by the employer but did no work for the employer, only for the union, and I certainly never understood what these people did, but on the other hand, in my world, they were fairly reasonable and normal people.

    The word ‘organise’ often gets used by the TUs. Organise what? Obstruction and resistance to the efficient operation of the entity concerned?

    In my former world, if we didn’t like what was happening (bearing in mind that we were competent non-unionised employees rather than union sheep), we just said so and the bosses (reasonable people mostly) thought about it and came up with a solution which we could all live with. Nothing like that with the B&HCC issue – they all posture and take positions and confront.

    So,come on, Pickled Plumb, your real name is not up there on this website, and will not be divulged by B&H News, so you’re immune from comeback. What has been going on with the Dave Russell issue?????????????????

  13. Marian Cleary Reply

    When I first met Nancy Platts, I thought she was for us. Now, no. If she’s so into the idea that some guy who works in a particular department is worth ‘different’ treatment which forces out a really expert council administrator, then she can’t be ‘for us’. I want clever people administratively running our council. Reed was one of them. Politics should determine budgets but not be interfere with employment issues in the council. That’s for HR, like in any other organisation. I agree with Roy Pennington. Constructive dismissal, and I hope Ms Reed puts in a claim and takes Brighton and Hove CC to a tribunal. Nancy Platts started her political career working in a building society and was politicised by what she saw happen to ordinary people back in the day re banks and housing. She went on to work to get the Early Years stuff happen and Children’s Centres, which was brilliant. But if she is now just about Momentum and Jeremy Corbyn, she is not ‘for us’ as in the people of Brighton and Hove. I wish she got back to what she was about when I first met her.

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