A senior York council officer has apologised unreservedly for parking in a disabled bay when she drove the chief executive to oversee the election count.

Suzan Harrington is deputy returning officer at City of York Council. In that role she assisted the returning officer, council chief executive Mary Weastell, in overseeing the election last week.

The count was held on Friday (3 May) at Energise sports centre on Cornlands Road.

Ms Harrington drove to Energise on Friday morning and parked in the disabled bay, where witnesses saw her drop off her passenger Mrs Weastell in time to supervise the count which began at 10am.

Her car remained in the disabled parking bay for several hours, where it was photographed and shared on social media.

Today she admitted that this was wrong, and she apologised unreservedly.

‘I will apologise to the leaders’

A car bearing a disabled badge parked behind the officer’s car when there were no disabled spaces left
Because of Ms Harrington’s parking, another car bearing a disabled driver’s badge had nowhere to park – and ended up parking behind the officer’s car.

Ms Harrington said today:

  • I dropped off Mary Weastell the Returning Officer to the count on Friday to ensure legally the count could start on time.

    I apologise unreservedly for then parking in a disabled bay. My intention was to support the count and then move the car to a more suitable location.

    I appreciate this was wrong and I moved the vehicle as soon as I was able to get away from the count.

    There is no excuse and I have apologised to the Chief Executive for potentially bringing the council into disrepute and will apologise to Energise and the leaders once confirmed.”

The car had no disabled badge

As well as being deputy returning officer, Ms Harrington is the interim assistant director for legal and governance, and monitoring officer.

That makes her one of the council’s most senior lawyers.