Merseyside Chief Fire Officer wastes more public money

Merseyside Fire Authority continue to support their Chief Fire Officer who has excelled at wasting taxpayers’ money on his own misplaced personal crusades. 

In another bizarre twist in the trade dispute between the Fire Brigades Union and Merseyside Fire & Civil Defence Authority, today Chief Fire Officer Malcolm Saunders personally attended the High Court in London to withdraw his futile attempt at an injunction to stop the FBU Ballot.

The Fire Authority applied for an injunction against the FBU ballot claiming that there was no dispute between the Authority and the FBU. On Friday (22nd June) after two days in the High Court, they accepted that clearly there is a dispute and they therefore withdrew their application this morning (Monday 25 June) and agreed to pay costs. They have already been ordered to pay nearly £40,000 as part of the legal costs; the final amount has not yet been announced, but is estimated to be in the region of £60-70,000.

Andy Gilchrist, General Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union said: “How much more public money is this man going to be allowed to waste? We have already seen him centrally involved in the waste of £3 million of taxpayers’ money by West Yorkshire Fire & Civil Defence Authority acting illegally whilst he was Deputy Chief Fire Officer there. 

Now he is forcing FBU members in Merseyside out on strike action because he refuses to abide by unanimous decisions of the Fire Service National Disputes Panel. His actions have already cost Merseyside taxpayers’ over £60,000. We are now moving towards an unnecessary strike in Merseyside, which will undoubtedly put public lives at risk.

The contempt of this man is unbelievable. The FBU were astounded to see that he could not even be bothered to turn up in Court on Friday. Amidst the confusion at what exactly the Authority’s case was, the Judge questioned why we were here. He then adjourned for three minutes so that the lawyers could ring Mr. Saunders for urgent instructions. When the reply was unclear the case was adjourned again until Monday (today). This therefore incurred an extra day’s legal costs for the Merseyside public. 

I have to ask how much longer do the public of Merseyside have to put up with the antics of this maverick Chief Fire Officer. He was wrong in West Yorkshire, a Court Judgment proves it; he was wrong at the Fire Service National Disputes Panel, their unanimous decision proves it; he was wrong again to attempt this misplaced injunction, his case was so weak he did not even wait for the Judgment.” 

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