The new boss of the organisation which managed Grenfell Tower has been accused of putting business before people following her first statement.
Interim Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) chief executive, Elaine Elkington, made no mention of the disaster which has claimed the lives of at least 80 people, focusing on a “business-critical time”, when she released her brief 29-word statement.
Campaign groups and politicians have criticised the former director of housing and regeneration in Hammersmith and Fulham.
Kensington and Chelsea Labour group leader Robert Atkinson said failure to reference the tragedy was an example of “high-handedness and insensitivity”.
Ms Elkington replaces Robert Black, who stepped aside in June to "concentrate on assisting with the investigation and inquiry" into the high-rise blaze.
Ms Elkington said of her appointment: “I’m looking forward to working with our resident-led board and with staff to move the organisation forward at a business-critical time and supporting our desire for continued service improvements.”
Cllr Atkinson, who reiterated calls for the organisation to be dismantled and abolished, said: “The TMO appears to exist in a parallel universe in which the Grenfell fire has not happened.
“The TMO does not seem to have consulted any other interested parties in making this appointment and for the new CEO to issue a comment without making any reference to the fire is crass beyond belief.
“Until it goes there can be no closure and progress in the community.”
Samia Badani, chairwoman of Bramley House, which overlooks Grenfell Tower, said the omission had “done more damage than any good”.
She said: “There can’t be any improvement with Kensington and Chelsea TMO because it’s fundamentally flawed.
“We are very very disappointed, this does little to restore public faith or confidence in their services.
“This community has been bruised and traumatised - you would say something to show you understand how we feel.”
Yvette Williams, a spokesman for campaign group Justice 4 Grenfell , said a reference to Grenfell from the new chief executive “would have been the minimum we would have expected”.
She said: “It’s very sad that she’s seen this as a business-critical time as opposed to a people-critical time.
“She’s just started badly. How can you come in, run the TMO, not mention Grenfell and not mention people, just mention the business?
“The TMO’s business is the least of our problems down here at the moment.
“She can’t go forward. They need to find someone else who will acknowledge the Grenfell disaster and at least come out and say it’s their priority coming in as the new interim chief executive.”
She added that she wanted to know how Ms Elkington had been selected and by whom.
Ms Elkington responded to getwestlondon: “As someone who has worked in housing for a long time I am of course extremely sympathetic to the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire, the awful scenes witnessed that night and the ongoing suffering.”
Welcoming the appointment, KCTMO chairman Fay Edwards said the organisation was “fortunate to secure the services of an outstanding housing professional.
The organisation said Ms Elkington was “very experienced in the delivery of high-profile public services”.
Scotland Yard announced on Thursday (July 27) there were “reasonable grounds” to suspect that the KCTMO and Kensington and Chelsea Council had committed corporate manslaughter .
Keep up to date with the latest news in west London via the free getwestlondon app.
You can even set it to receive push notifications for all the breaking news in your area.