Monday, August 20, 2007

WHY LEE FORDE QUIT THE CULTURE COMPANY...

EVENTS MANAGER Lee Forde quit the Culture Company because the Mathew Street budget had been slashed - threatening public safety.

The Harbarrowboy unilaterally halved the amount of money being spent on events such as Mathew Street, the Hub Festival, the Lord Mayor's Parade and the Christmas Lights switch-on.

Harbarrowboy was under pressure from Cover Up to reduce the amount of public money being used by the Culture Company after squandering millions on consultants, astonomical wages and pie in the sky schemes.

He was told to reign-in the Culture Company's mounting expenditure in the run-up to 2008.

But he also personally decided to save up some money for next year's events so that 2008 would not turn into the damp squib we have all feared.

Jase planned to splurge it all on public events next year so that he could go out in a blaze of "glory" having delivered an apparently successful Capital of Culture.

Forde expressed his concern at the implications of the sweeping cuts and refused to keep quiet. (Good for him, eds)

He warned the Harbarrowboy that such draconian cuts would put public safety at risk and contravene strict health and safety regulations.

But the Harbarrowboy told Forde: "I don't want any discussion about this - just get on with it."

Forde then submitted his resignation in disgust, telling the Harbarrowboy that it was impossible to deliver such events without compromising public safety.

The Culture Company tried to put a brave face on his shock departure, 'Jase' arrogantly telling the BBC in an interview that no-one was indispensable and that they would carry on as normal.

In fact, the opposite was true. (see TP's previous post about Forde's departure for an entirely accurate account of the likely impact, eds)

Forde's departure meant little work was done on Mathew Street, which was left to his deputy Eddy Grant to try and pick up.

The £150,000-a-year Harbarrowboy failed to adequately manage the resultant gap and then eventually decided to cancel a festival which was not even his to cancel.

The result?

Uproar.

Forde is now the victim of a disgraceful and all too typical attempt by the city council and the Culture Company to shoulder all the blame for the fiasco.

The Echo was told (apparently by Bradley) that Ford was on "gardening leave" - a sickening and disgusting attempt to smear him.

His deputy Grant is now on long term sickness absence, as a result of the mounting pressures he was put under.

This effectively means the Culture Company has lost its senior Events chiefs at a stroke - an amazing 'achievement'. This is likely to have further implications on events in the city.

One Culture Company insider said:" Lee has never been a 'yes' man and when Jason told him to implement the cuts, he couldn't keep quiet any longer.

"He refused to put up with the incompetence. And no-one took control of the situation or did anything significant about it. It's a classic case of management failure."

Meanwhile, we can also reveal that the Harbarrowboy has been sent on 'gardening leave'. Cover Up told him to go and take a week off while the dust settled over the Mathew Street debacle.

He is due to return to the Fun Palace tomorrow (Tuesday) - but is unlikely to get a quiet reception.

(All will soon be revealed....eds)

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