Principal accused of working in pub

November 15, 1996

GOVERNORS at a further education college are investigating allegations that the principal has spent his sick leave helping out in a pub.

Neil Preston, who earns Pounds 90,000 a year, took sick leave on full pay from Stoke on Trent College in September because of stress.

A college committee set up to consider dismissal proceedings against two members of staff is now also investigating claims that Mr Preston has been working nearby in the Dymock Arms at Penley, Clwyd, with his colleague Helen Chandler. Ms Chandler, a senior director at the college, also took sick leave in September suffering stress.

She was granted a temporary licence by magistrates to run the Dymock Arms last week, shortly before her sick note was renewed for a further two months.

Mr Preston's sick note has also been renewed until mid-January.

Stoke on Trent has been at the centre of controversy since lecturers' union Natfhe made claims of bullying, low staff morale and stress. The college decided not to renew cooption to the corporation of its chairman of governors, George Mardle, saying he had failed to act forcefully over the complaints. Mr Mardle denied this and blamed a small group of governors for opposing his cooption.

Mr Preston arrived in May 1993 from Amersham and Wycombe College, Buckinghamshire, where Ms Chandler was his deputy.

Ms Chandler joined Stoke in June 1994 as assistant director in charge of marketing.

"Clearly we would want to establish whether these extra costs will exceed the reductions in contributions but our expectation is the costs could be much higher."

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