THE former and current chief executives of Northumberland County Council have been accused by a former employee of underhand tactics to remove people from jobs.

Both former CEO Steve Mason and current CEO Daljit Lally came under attack during the employment tribunal of Sarah Kirk, who is claiming unfair dismissal, automatically (whistle blowing), detriment, disability discrimination, harassment and victimisation after being selected for redundancy from her role as the authority’s HR department in 2016.

The council is also being accused of unfair dismissal and age discrimination by Chris Stephenson who lost his job through the same process.

In the tribunals which started this week, Mrs Kirk said she was ‘engineered’ out of her managerial position by the executive director of HR, Kelly Angus, after making two whistle-blowing complaints against the council’s senior management.

Her first complaint was made in relation to possible bullying by former director Barry Rowland of his PA. Mrs Kirk said she believed Mrs Lally and Mr Mason were using this allegation as a lever to remove Mr Rowland from his role.

The second complaint claimed that Mr Mason attempted to get Zelah Weedy, a swim instructor at Ponteland Leisure Centre, suspended or made redundant, to allow his wife Helen to get her job.

Mrs Kirk claimed that she was ‘black-spotted’ by the council after making these complaints, which made her a sitting target for redundancy. The county council claimed it investigated her complaints and found there was no evidence to support the claims.

Mr Stephenson, who had worked for the council since 1983, complained the interviewing process during the redundancy process from his HR manager role was unfair and said Ms Angus was behind this. The council refuted these claims too.

The tribunal continues.