Page last updated at 13:34 GMT, Monday, 22 March 2010

Cheltenham council quizzed over ex-chief sickness case

Christine Laird
Mrs Laird took the job in 2002 but left in 2005 after taking sick leave

Cheltenham Borough Council bosses are to face public questioning over a decision to take a former chief executive to court.

A failed civil claim against Christine Laird, whom it was alleged had not disclosed health problems that affected her work, cost the authority £2.1m.

A report by auditors KPMG highlighted flaws in the council's decision-making.

The auditors and a review working group will answer 'notified' public questions and members' queries about the report.

The meeting, on Monday evening, will allow people who have submitted questions in advance in writing, to either ask their question in person or have their question read out in their absence.

Mrs Laird took the job of chief executive in 2002 but left in 2005 after taking sick leave.

The council claimed it had suffered financial losses of more than £1m including interest as a result of her "withholding" details of her history of depression.

The 52-year-old told the High Court in March last year that she believed the appointment was "unconditional" and there had been no requirement for a medical report.

She said she had been forced out of office by a poor working atmosphere in the local authority and council members who opposed her implementation of restructuring departments.

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