The former headteacher of a Blackpool school has come under fire over his £700 expenses claim as Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
Richard Rhodes, former head of Arnold School – now AKS – yesterday said he would not resign despite growing concerns over his conduct.
Appearing at a press conference, Mr Rhodes apologised unreservedly for claiming two chauffeur car trips on his expenses, but firmly denied he had any influence on the ongoing police investigation which has seen three people arrested for whistle blowing.
Mr Rhodes has come under increasing scrutiny after details of the trips, which saw him spend £313 for a trip from his home in the south of the county to Rydal Hall, in Ambleside, in January, and a second trip costing £385 for a return trip to Bassenthwaite.
He has repaid the full amount but only after details of his expenses were revealed in the media.
He said: “When I took the job as Police and Crime Commissioner I was asked if I would like a car and a driver, this seemed extravagant and I refused.
“Though I did concede there may be times that if I have been working all day and had engagements at night that I would have been able to do work while I was on the way.”
Mr Rhodes said he made two mistakes in relation to the incident – the first using expenses for the trip and the second not publishing his claims online.
In an attempt to put his expenses into context he said he didn’t have a deputy, which would cost Cumbria police £50,000 a year.
He refused to be drawn on whether he was at ‘loggerheads’ with acting chief constable Bernard Lawson over the extent of the investigation, and claimed the only information on the investigation comes from press statements issued by Cumbria police.