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