The woman who presided over Birmingham’s “banana republic” vote-rigging scandal has landed a plum job as one of Britain’s top civil servants.
Lin Homer, former chief executive of Birmingham City Council, is to be the new Permanent Secretary at the Department for Transport, earning £155,000 a year.
Ms Homer ran Birmingham from 2002 to 2005, when she was responsible for 57,000 council staff.
But her period at the council was marred by the postal voting scandal which led a judge to order fresh elections in two Birmingham wards.
Election judge Richard Mawrey said fraud in the city “would have disgraced a banana republic” and warned Ms Homer, who was the city’s returning officer in her role as chief executive, had “thrown the rule book out of the window”.
Among other things, he described her decision to allow postal ballot papers to be transported to the count in plastic shopping bags as “the direst folly”.
Ms Homer ran into fresh difficulties when she became Director General of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, with responsibility for putting the Government’s immigration policy into practice.
It emerged that 1,019 foreign prisoners had been released from jail without being considered for deportation as they should have been.
Ms Homer told MPs that she took responsibility, although she never lost the support of the Home Secretary at the time, Labour’s John Reid.
In her new role, which begins in January, she will take responsibility for overseeing key transport policies such as the creation of a new high speed rail line between London and Birmingham.
The appointment was approved by the Prime Minister and by the Transport Secretary Philip Hammond.
She said: “I am very excited to be taking on this role at such an important time for transport and joining the many excellent professionals in Government and wider who help design and run our transport system.
“The Department has to contribute to the country’s economic growth and also help to promote quality of life and the green agenda. As the last few days have shown, it has got to be able to focus on keeping the country moving at times of severe weather, whilst planning the transport system for the next few decades. I hope to be able to add my experience to that agenda.”
Mr Hammond said: “I welcome Lin Homer to her new post and I look forward to working with her in addressing the challenges ahead.”