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Trust chief quits over staff bullying claims

PUBLISHED: 17:17 05 November 2008 | UPDATED: 15:37 25 August 2010

RESIGNS: jackie Smith.

RESIGNS: jackie Smith.

THE chair of a community charity has resigned from her post following allegations of bullying and improper behaviour.

THE chair of a community charity has resigned from her post following allegations of bullying and improper behaviour.

Jackie Smith, Greenwich council's cabinet member for Children's Services, has quit her post as chair of Trust Thamesmead along with Labour councillor Peter Kotz.

The scandal unfolded behind a veil of secrecy as both Trust Thamesmead and Greenwich council refused to reveal why the two Thamesmead Mooring councillors quit.

Ms Smith was an independent trustee of the £3million charity for eight years but this summer became embroiled in an internal dispute.

The spat led to the temporary suspension of the Trust's chief executive, Mick Hayes, a former Labour councillor for Shooters Hill.

The Times exclusively revealed that all four heads of department at the trust made a bullying complaint involving Ms Smith on September 22.

Yet it remains unclear whether Ms Smith was found to have bullied employees at the charity.

Trust Thamesmead, a 50 per cent stakeholder of development company Tilfen Land, will not reveal the findings of its internal investigation.

A spokesman for the Board of Trustees said: "It has been publicly reported that there have been some internal matters which have now been resolved.

"Trust Thamesmead would like to make it clear that there was no finding of public impropriety of any kind against Councillor Smith, who had stated sometime ago that it was her intention to resign when these issues had been drawn to a conclusion."

Peter Kotz represented Greenwich council on the charity's Board of Trustees, yet the council refused to explain his resignation.

Spencer Drury, leader of the opposition on Greenwich council, said Trust Thamesmead appeared to be in 'chaos' due to Labour Party 'squabbling'.

He said: "This is a charity that is supposed to be supporting the community and it appears to be in some kind of internal spat. I'm not clear whether it is doing anything to support the community in Thamesmead."

A spokesman for Trust Thamesmead thanked Ms Smith for her "tireless enthusiasm" in the past.

Ms Smith declined to comment on her resignation.

The charity is now looking to recruit a new chair and review its governance procedure.

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