Fairness boss Brabazon fired in New Year row

By Luchia Robinson

Cllr Zena Brabazon Credit: Haringey Council

The future of Haringey Council’s Fairness Commission has been called into question following the shock sacking of Cllr Zena Brabazon Cabinet member for Civic Services ‘in a very peremptory way’ on New Year’s Eve.

Upon hearing the news of Cllr Brabazon’s dismissal from the Cabinet, by Leader of Haringey Council, Cllr Ejiofor, campaign group, TAG (Temporary Accommodation Group) Love Lane Tweeted:

“TAG are disgusted with the sacking news (…). We had a good meeting with the Fairness Commission about Love Lane and the temp’s (temporary residents’) situation. Will the progress and hard work be lost because #DABOSS (Cllr Ejiofor) decided to remove an opponent? Our lives are not his political game. #tottenhamkickback”

Cllr Brabazon who was sacked along with Cllr Peray Ahmet (former Cabinet member for Adults and Health) began leading the project last year, but her immediate dismissal means the Fairness Commission is no longer a part of her portfolio.

Cllr Brabazon said:

“I’ve worked as hard as I possibly can to pull (the Fairness Commission) together and I think I was beginning to get it established.

“I hope that this work will continue.”

“We have taken evidence from a wide range of people and heard people’s stories; those are the most moving things to hear and (they) challenge the way the council operates.”

“I’ve seen how much Haringey needs to do to effect the policy changes to support the most vulnerable in our community, and that is what I was hoping to drive through.”

The Fairness Commission which was set up to collaboratively engage Haringey’s residents, businesses and community groups in ongoing dialogue to addresses inequalities in Tottenham and across the borough, is now the responsibility of Cllr Kaushika Amin, appointed by Cllr Ejiofor as Cabinet member for Civic Services.

Regarding the Cabinet reshuffle, which also includes the replacement of Cllr Peray Ahmet with Cllr Sarah James, Cllr Ejiofor tweeted:

“I’d like to put on record my thanks to Cllrs Ahmet and Brabazon for their contributions to this administration. However, I now need a cabinet that works closely together to deliver our manifesto and have acted to eradicate a number of persistent and personal conflicts.”

In reference to her dismissal from Cabinet, Cllr Brabazon said:

“I was sacked in a very peremptory way.

“Me being sacked hasn’t acknowledged the sensitivity and importance of the Commission. It’s taken a lot of thinking (and) a lot of planning because public confidence in the council is so low.

“I worked as hard as I could, with goodwill, to deliver on the manifesto. I believe in teamwork and I’ve tried to be a team player.”

The Fairness Commission is one of the Council’s top 5 manifesto pledges. Resident contribution, along with the input of commissioners selected from across local community services, sets the policy framework for the administration.

Cllr Kaushika Amin, Cabinet Member for Civic Services has encouraged residents to join in with the work of the Commission, saying she is looking forward to working with them and her fellow commissioners. She added:

“The Fairness Commission has already made great progress under Cllr Brabazon and I will ensure this work continues. We are committed to making Haringey a fairer and more equal borough and it is important to me that the voices of residents from all walks of life can be heard.”

The Fairness Commission    Credit: Haringey Council

A spokesperson from Haringey Council has said that The Fairness Commission will continue to run as scheduled.

The engagement period is set to end in March, and the recommendations that are raised will be posed to Council from April through to Summer 2019.