I am writing this TRUE story to put on record, in one place, how the Senior Managers at Merthyr Council persecuted my son, Chris Jones (CJ) and eventually terminated his employment as a Senior HR Officer in collusion with the Head Teachers of the Southern Cluster group and a Chair of Governors:
Edwardsville Primary School
Ynysowen Primary School
Bedlinog Primary School
Abercanaid Primary School
Troedyrhiw Primary School.
Chair of Governors of Ynysowen Primary School – Rosa Lazell.
I will, however, go back to July 2012 when the persecution started.
This story is going to take some considerable time to put on record. I will have to write it in lots of different stages.
You can look at what I have posted on twitter under #merthyrcouncilcoverup to find out what has gone on. But this story will have it all from the beginning.
On 9th July 2012 Chris Jones (CJ) was called into the office of his line manager – Mark Tuson (MT) HR Manager of Merthyr Tydfil Council. On arriving in the office he found that a local trade union Officer was in the room with MT. The union officer was not even CJ’s union officer.
CJ was informed that he was being suspended pending an investigation into two issues of alleged misconduct. CJ stated that he could provide answers to the two issues in question but he was told to go home as an investigation would have to be carried out.
The investigation was carried out by Colin Mahoney (CM) a Council Auditor and he was assisted by Chris Sollars (CS) a temporary HR Officer from the Council’s HR Department.
The act of suspending CJ allowed the Investigators to go ‘fishing’ for anything that they could find to increase the number of allegations of misconduct against CJ.
And this is what they did. Two allegations of misconduct became five allegations of misconduct.
The Disciplinary investigation process should have been carried out in accordance with the Council Disciplinary Policy.
The whole purpose of the investigation should have been to identify the facts relating to the two allegations.
However, CM and CS decided that their role was to find anything that could be used to make CJ look like he was guilty of misconduct. They should have looked for all the facts relating to the allegations of misconduct which would have shown mitigating circumstances in favour of CJ.
But they didn’t
Whilst fishing they found music files on CJ’s work computer.
Now I can assure you that other colleagues in the HR Department also had music files and personal photos on their computers too. But no other employees were penalised for those misdemeanours. The IT staff of the Council should have been able to identify any computers that had any files or software on them by running appropriate programmes.
But they didn’t.
There were two other incidents picked up in their so-called investigation.
The investigators drew up their report of the investigation and presented it to Carys Kennedy (CK) – Monitoring Officer , Head of Legal Department and Director with overall responsibility for HR – with recommendations of Gross Misconduct to each of the five issues.
CK then decided that the report should be used for a Disciplinary Hearing.
The Disciplinary Hearing was held on 26th 27th and 28th March 24th 25th and 26th April and 16th May 2013.
So CJ had been suspended from duty from July 2012 and was due to return to work on 27th June 2013.
The conclusions of the Hearing Officer are shown below:
CJ did not appeal against this decision as he just wanted to get back to work and get on with his career in HR.
Entitled to return to work? No.
A letter of a further suspension was received the day before we were due to go on a week’s holiday to get over the stress caused by all of this bother.
Letter shown below
June 2013 to January 2014
I do not intend to go into great detail covering the period from June 2013 to January 2014.
Following the investigations referred to in the above letter, no evidence of misconduct was found. That’s not to say that the investigators didn’t have a damn good try to find some.
April 2014 Grievance Hearing
CJ attended a Grievance Hearing on 10th April. This hearing was held to deal with the investigation process dealing with the CJ’s suspension from work.
It was at this hearing where it was decided that an apology letter should be issued by GC to CJ. See image of letter below from Gareth Chapman (GC) CEO of Merthyr Council.
MT HR Manager – Departure
MT left his employment by mutual consent in mid 2014. I believe that MT left having signed a NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) otherwise known as a ‘gagging order ‘ or a Compromise Agreement. This type of agreement prevents the employee from making any claim to an Employment Tribunal regarding the ending of the employment. It also provides the employee with a severance payment – ‘buying his/her silence ‘.
Now I ask myself if there was a link between CJ being suspended from work from July 2012 to January 2014 and the result of this Grievance Hearing to the departure of MT.
We will never know. But it is a coincidence – isn’t it.
The replacement for MT was appointed from within the department. Lisa Jones (LJ) was the new HR Manager.
After a relatively short period LJ decided that she wanted to leave the post of HR Manager to go on and start looking for new projects.
Again, I believe that LJ was assisted to leave under a NDA. But, of course, I can’t prove that.
So, again, there was a vacancy for a HR Manager. It was advertised internally and CJ was one of the applicants. The person appointed to the position was Fran Donnelly (FD) – a solicitor from the Council’s Legal Department. A colleague of CK.
On Sunday 5th June my wife and I were in London for the weekend. We had enjoyed yet another concert with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. We came home on a high on Monday 6th June.
Little did we know that the following day we would come down from that high with a bump.
On Tuesday 7th June CJ was invited to attend a meeting with CK and FD. On attending the meeting CJ noted that a local union officer was also present Mike Crimmings (MC).
CJ was advised by CK that pressure had been put on the Council by some Head Teachers to sack CJ or the schools would withdraw from the Service Level Agreement (SLA) for HR Services. This would mean that the LA would lose a substantial amount of income.
CJ was offered two choices :
- Leave his employment with the LA under a NDA
- Face a Some Other Substantial Reason (SOSR) investigation which could result in his employment being terminated.
CJ stated that the only thing that came to mind regarding any Heads of School being unhappy with his work would have been the Head of Ynysowen Primary School in relation to an allegation of a Child Protection and Safeguarding issue that had occurred in February 2016. CJ stated that FD was aware of that issue.
CJ was told to go home and reflect before he made any decision.
The letter from FD refers to the above meeting.
It gives details of the NDA that the LA was offering CJ to leave quietly.
Something new to the LA happened then.
CJ rejected the offer because he had not done anything wrong.
The LA had become used to employees accepting the money. But that was because they had done something wrong.
I have a recording of this meeting.
To be continued
To be continued.
EMAIL TO GC – NO REPLY – NO ACCOUNTABILITY
To be continued
Employment Tribunal – 1st, 2nd, 3rd May 2018 – Judgement
Letter sent by CJ to Councillor Kevin O’Neill, Leader of Merthyr Council.
Reply received from Councilor O’Neill