30/01/2008

Big Pay-Off As Culture Chief Quits

Liverpool Culture Company's Chief Executive Jason Harborow has announced that he will be stepping down from his position.

However, it's believed that Mr Harborow may now be in line for a £230,000 golden handshake - just a month into the city's year long celebrations for European Capital of Culture.

Jason Harborow informed his council that his position had become untenable after remarks by top councillors about the Mathew Street Festival debacle.

Last year a leaked email revealed that council leader Warren Bradley had demanded the immediate suspension of Mr Harborow until the conclusion of an independent inquiry into cancellation of the Mathew Street festival.

The outdoor stages at the international music event were cancelled just weeks before due to health and safety concerns. An independent inquiry later blamed poor communications and the work of two other top officials as contributing factors to the festival's cancellation.

Despite the ill-feeling Mr Harborow remains convinced that his job is done.

"I have fulfilled my pledge to the people of Liverpool. My job is done, and it is time now for a new challenge.

"It has been a tremendous challenge but we are there - 2008 will be the beginning of the future for Liverpool. I am grateful that I was able to play a role in that," he said.

Chris Donaldson has been working as the interim chief executive over the past few months to cover a period of sick leave taken by Mr Harborow.

A recommendation will be put to the council's appointment panel tomorrow to ensure Mr Donaldson can continue in the job.

(GC)


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