A COUNCILLOR has criticised a highly-paid officer for leaving a key meeting early to pick up her son.
Clr Christine Smith is angry that Kirklees Council’s director for well-being and communities Merran McRae didn’t stay to the end of a special investigation into housing.
The Leeds-based officer left the meeting more than an hour early to collect her 11-year-old son.
Clr Smith said yesterday: “She’s making a monkey out of us. Kirklees is being taken for a ride.”
But a council officer said last night that Ms McRae had volunteered to attend the day-long meeting.
Clr Smith made the comments following a special sitting of the council’s Scrutiny Panel.
The cross-party group investigated the Labour Cabinet’s decision to give Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH) a new five-year contract to manage 23,000 council homes across the district.
The panel re-examined the issue after five opposition Conservative councillors demanded a “call-in”.
Ms McRae – whose department includes housing – was one of several people to give evidence at the meeting, which began at 10am on Friday at Huddersfield Town Hall.
But Clr Smith, who attended the whole meeting, is unhappy that Ms McRae left at 4pm – 75 minutes before the panel reached its conclusion.
The four-strong group of councillors decided at 5.15pm to ask the Cabinet to reconsider renewing KNH’s contract.
Kirkburton Conservative Clr Smith said: “The panel were out considering their decision and Merran McRae just got up and left.
“She went to pick up her son, but she didn’t tell us that she was going to leave early.