Taxpayers will be ‘incensed’ at £400K secret council boss payout, says MP

Rachael Maskell says she is ‘deeply concerned over the transparency of the council’ – after the local authority is understood to have agreed a £400,000 settlement payout to the chief executive.

The decision is believed to have been made at a public council meeting – from which the press and public were excluded on the grounds of confidentiality.

The meeting is understood to have agreed to the early retirement of chief executive Mary Weastell.

It is believed Ms Weastell was planning to take the council to an employment tribunal.

‘Serious question’

Mary Weastell was planning to take the council to a tribunal, say reports
York Central MP Rachael Maskell said: “I am deeply concerned over the transparency of the council, not least when there were clearly issues to be addressed, since reports state that a case was filed at an employment tribunal.”

She added:

  • We know that vital services in York continue to be slashed, charities are struggling to survive, and yet £400,000 has been awarded without proper scrutiny.

    Many residents across York struggle to pay their council tax and will be incensed to learn that it has been used this way.

    I believe serious questions of the council leader and his deputy must now be asked.

Under council guidance published in the meeting documents, if a council officer is made redundant or an exit payment of more than £100,000 is agreed, the decision should be approved in public at a full council meeting.

But if the departure of a member of staff is classified as early retirement this is not necessary and the details do not need to be discussed at a public meeting.

Claire Foale, head of communications at the council said: “I can confirm that members considered the early retirement of a member of the corporate management team at the Staffing matters and Urgency meeting on 17 February.

“It is not appropriate for us to comment as we do not share information about individuals, we will provide an update as soon as possible.”