‘I opposed £400K payment to council boss’ – Labour leader

The leader of the Labour group at City of York Council has revealed he opposed plans for a payout to a senior officer at a secret council meeting last month.

A £400,000 settlement is believed to have been agreed to be paid to a senior offices, understood to be the council’s chief executive, Mary Weastell, at the meeting.

The meeting also approved her early retirement.

Cllr Danny Myers said he opposed a proposed payout at the meeting on February 17.

He said:

  • Having read the minutes of the meeting that I attended, I must make it clear that the decision taken by the committee of four councillors, did not have unanimous support.

    I outlined at the time that I would not be able to support such a decision being taken in a private setting and that I was against the recommendation proposed due to too many questions remaining unanswered, particularly around whether this represented the responsible use of taxpayers’ money.

‘Not open or transparent’

Mary Weastell

Cllr Myers said he asked a number of questions at the meeting about how this decision had come about so suddenly “and had I not done, the Lib Dem and Green councillors would have nodded it through in under two minutes”.

He added:

  • It’s astonishing that so little scrutiny was given in the meeting to such an important decision.

    A decision of this nature should never be taken by such a small number of ruling councillors in private; it should be put before all councillors at a full council meeting.

    This is not an open or transparent way to run a local authority.

Council leader Keith Aspden has previously said HR cases are “heavily guided by employment legislation and therefore, the council is restricted in what information it can share at this time”.

A City of York Council spokesperson confirmed the early retirement of a senior staff member was considered at a meeting on February 17.