Liverpool CEO temporarily ‘steps aside’ following arrest

The chief executive of Liverpool City Council has been forced to temporarily step down from his role after he was arrested due to financial problems with tendering contracts to BT.

In a statement released by the local authority, Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson confirmed that Ged Fitzgerald had been released on bail, and that both of them had agreed that the CEO should relinquish his position whilst investigations were ongoing.

BT had worked with Liverpool council in the past on the Liverpool Direct Ltd (LDL) partnership, which provided services for the council such as HR, payroll and IT and web services.

But financial irregularities into the contract for the now defunct LDL led the police to arrest Fitzgerald and three other individuals on Monday 22 May following a four-year investigation. The three other men have not officially been named.

However, Liverpool City Council confirmed that it has not suspended the chief executive and he is not subject to any disciplinary measures. Before moving to Liverpool City Council, Fitzgerald had also worked at Lancashire CC as CEO.

Anderson said: “In relation to the arrest of the chief executive, Ged Fitzgerald on 22nd May, the chief executive has been released on bail, without charge.

“I have spoken to the chief executive and also to the police about the nature of the investigation and how this impacts upon the council and the city.”

Anderson added that the chief executive had agreed and concluded that he should voluntarily step aside from his role for a period until investigations are complete.

“This will also extend to the additional duties the chief executive has been undertaking as interim head of paid service for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority,” he said.

The mayor explained that the decision had been accepted as the right one for the city in order to enable the council to “deliver services without distraction”.

Anderson concluded that there were no plans to appoint an interim CEO in Fitzgerald’s absence. The CEO’s role will instead be covered by the mayor and his management team until the police’s investigation concludes.

Lancashire Police were contacted for comment by PSE.

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