29/10/2004

BELB chief executive suspended over budget debacle

The chief executive of the Belfast Education and Library Board (BELB) has been suspended following an overspend of nearly £5 million by the region's education department.

Following a four-hour meeting of the Board it was agreed that David Cargo should be suspended, however, the suspension was described as a "precautionary" measure which was not a "presumption of any guilt".

In a statement, released on Friday, the BELB said that the Board had become aware of the overspend in June and that it had been working since then to clarify the position and discuss a course of action to address the problem.

An "external and independent" review of the board's financial deficit has since been launched, the statement added.

Earlier in the week, Education Minister Barry Gardiner demanded swift action over the escalating crisis in funding within both the Belfast and South Eastern Education Boards after it emerged that the two boards had a combined overspend of around £11 million.

Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Gardiner told the chief executives of both boards that they bore personal responsibility for monitoring spending.

The South Eastern Education and Library Board, which currently has a deficit of £5.7 million, is to meet in the next two weeks to discuss its financial fall-out.

The Board has said that it could only save about £1 million without damaging the welfare of pupils, but it is understood to have now come up with a further list of cost-cutting measures which would save a further £5 million.

(MB/SP)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

03 December 2019
NI Nurses Begin Industrial Action
Nurses across Northern Ireland have commenced 24 hours of industrial action. In response to unsafe staffing levels and the pay crisis, members of the Royal College of Nursing will refuse to do any task that isn't directly related to patient care.
29 November 2019
Police Step Up Roadside Breath Testing
Police have warned anyone who takes the "unacceptable risk" of driving while impaired by drink or drugs to expect to be detected by police. It comes as the annual winter Anti-Drink and Drug Drive operation is launched, with officers to step up their efforts to catch those who chose to break the law while driving.
29 November 2019
ASMR Films Tackle Realities Of Homelessness
Northern Ireland's leading homelessness charity has released a series of ASMR focused films to force viewers to consider how the sounds they find the most comforting can be the same ones that keep homeless people awake at night.
06 December 2019
£90k Suspected Cannabis Seized In Craigavon
Officers from the PSNI's Paramilitary Crime Task Force have seized a significant amount of suspected cannabis amid investigations linked to the South East Antrim UDA. The plants, a mixture of mature plants and seedlings, are valued at around £90,000.
02 December 2019
Relief As £107k Online Scam Foiled
An elderly woman from Co Down has been saved from an online scam worth almost £107,000. Fraudsters struck when the target, aged in her seventies, was searching online for investment opportunities in October. The woman gave her details to what she believed was a genuine company, but was in fact communicating with fraudsters.