Selby councillors have backed a £210,000 exit payment for their outgoing chief executive.
Janet Waggott is taking redundancy from her role at Selby District Council because there will not be a similar job for her at the new North Yorkshire Council in April 2023.
The new unitary authority will cover the whole county and all district and borough councils will be abolished.
Council leader Cllr Mark Crane told an extraodinary meeting of full council called to approve the package that it included “no enhancements”.
He added: “The figures here are large, however that’s a reflection of the facts of how much a chief executive earns and I want to make it clear to all members that we have treated her in exactly the same way as we would the lowest paid member of this council.”
Labour’s Cllr Wendy Nichols backed the payment, but said she did not think Ms Waggott was being treated in the exact same way as lower paid members of staff would be.
Cllr Nichols, a Unison official, added: “My only concern with this is the 12 weeks in lieu of notice because technically, that could have been given now and that notice could have been worked which is what most other people would do, but I am not talking against it – I think the right thing has happened.”
Ms Wagggott is to be paid almost £27,000 in lieu of notice.
‘Value for money’
According to a council report: “The proposed settlement is considered to represent value for money by ensuring that the head of paid service remains in office and engaged to enable the council to continue to deliver its services until 31 March 2023; that there is a smooth transition to the new authority; and that the potential for costly and disruptive legal proceedings will be avoided.”
Most council staff will transfer to the new authority next year.
Ms Nichols also alluded to strife at another district council about the pay-off of their chief executive.
Recent weeks have seen significant controversy as Hambleton District Council approved an exit package of around £225,000 for Justin Ives, despite criticism from the Taxpayers’ Alliance and union officials.
In Richmondshire, however, chief executive Tony Clark was praised by councillors there for showing “astounding restraint” after accepting a package of just £96,000.
Although not required, Selby is to obtain “section 24” consent from North Yorkshire County Council for the payment. This power allows the larger council to scrutinise all moves by district and borough councils to spend more than £100,000 ahead of them being disbanded on March 31.
The meeting on Tuesday was told that Mrs Waggott suffered a family bereavement last week.
Both Cllr Crane and Labour leader Cllr Bob Packham sent their condolences to Mrs Waggott and her family.