Hartlepool Mayor sacked from ‘day job’ as care team manager with Newcastle City Council

UNDER PRESSURE: Hartlepool Mayor Stephen Akers-Belcher

UNDER PRESSURE: Hartlepool Mayor Stephen Akers-Belcher

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THE Mayor of Hartlepool has been sacked from his ‘day job’ as a care team manager.

Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher was dismissed by Newcastle City Council, where he has managed a team of around 30 staff within the local authority’s Community Mental Health Service.

Catcote Academy held an open day before breaking up for the school holidays. Chair of children's services for Hartlepool Borough Council Chris Simmons (left), Mayor Stephen Akers-Belcher and council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher join some of the students as they make crafts.

Catcote Academy held an open day before breaking up for the school holidays. Chair of children's services for Hartlepool Borough Council Chris Simmons (left), Mayor Stephen Akers-Belcher and council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher join some of the students as they make crafts.

Today, the ceremonial mayor confirmed his sacking - but claimed he had done “nothing wrong” and would fight to get his job back.

His dismissal comes after he made allegations involving the authorities protection of vulnerable adults.

Earlier this year, Coun Akers-Belcher was suspended for around two months from the post he has held for six years.

He was then called into a meeting on July 24 and sacked with immediate effect for what has been described as “gross misconduct”.

Coun Akers-Belcher claims has launched an appeal in a bid to clear his name and get his job back.

It is thought the appeal could be heard within the next two months.

Hartlepool Borough Council chiefs have been made aware of the situation, but insist the situation will have no impact on his role as either a councillor - where he represents the Manor House ward for Labour - or as the town’s ceremonial mayor.

Coun Akers-Belcher told the Mail: “I can confirm that I was dismissed on July 24, 2014, from my post as Team Leader within the Community Mental Health Service for Newcastle City Council.

“I am adamant that I have done nothing wrong and I am currently in the process of appealing against my dismissal.

“I intend to fight through the correct channels to be reinstated to the job that I loved, serving some of the most vulnerable people in the Newcastle community.

“At this stage it would be inappropriate for me to comment further as there are ongoing investigations into the serious concerns I raised.”

A Newcastle City Council spokesman said: “We can confirm that a member of staff has been dismissed from his employment with the city council.

“He is appealing against that decision and it would therefore be inappropriate for us to comment further on this matter.

“He recently made a series of allegations - not related to child sex exploitation – which we take very seriously.

“They will be thoroughly investigated through our safeguarding procedures in line with normal practice.”

A spokesman for Hartlepool Borough Council said: “This is a personal matter which does not affect Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher’s position as a councillor or Ceremonial Mayor.”