Hartlepool mayor’s sacking by Newcastle City Council upheld

Hartlepool mayor Stephen Akers-Belcher
Hartlepool mayor Stephen Akers-Belcher

HARTLEPOOL Mayor Stephen Akers-Belcher has failed in his bid to be reinstated following his sacking from his care manager “day job”.

Councillor Akers-Belcher, the town’s ceremonial mayor, has been embroiled in a battle with Newcastle City Council after being sacked by the local authority earlier this year for gross misconduct.

Coun Akers-Belcher, who managed a team of around 30 staff in the Tyneside council’s Community Mental Health Service, confirmed to the Mail in September that he had been sacked on July 24.

The revelations led to calls for him to step down as mayor.

But he vowed to clear his name, and after insisting he had done nothing wrong, he said he would go through an appeal process in a bid to get his job back.

But the Mail understands that appeal process has now ended and Coun Aker-Belcher failed to overturn the decision.

Coun Akers-Belcher would not comment further insisting it was a “private matter”.

But Newcastle City Council, while unable to release any information about any appeal, did confirm that a date had been set for an Employment Tribunal.

Anyone believing they have been unfairly dismissed can put their case to an independent panel.

That hearing is scheduled to take place in April next year, and the full facts into the reasons behind the council’s decision to fire Coun Akers-Belcher will be heard in public.

Coun Akers-Belcher has rejected repeated requests from opposition councillors to temporarily stand down from his role as ceremonial mayor until the matter with Newcastle City Council is brought to a close.

A Newcastle City Council spokesman said: “This matter is before the Employment Tribunal and therefore it would not be appropriate to comment further.”

Coun Akers-Belcher’s dismissal came after he made allegations involving the authority’s protection of vulnerable adults.

He was initially suspended for around two months from the post he has held for six years, before being fired on July 24.

When asked about the latest development, Coun Akers-Belcher said: “This is a private matter and I do not wish therefore to make any further comment at this stage.”

The tribunal is scheduled to take place on April 13 at Quayside House, in Newcastle.