£110k payout to council employee

A senior member of staff at Derry City Council has been paid a redundancy package of £110,180.

A spokesperson for Derry City Council explained that the money was paid to a senior member of staff who left the organisation under “voluntary severance arrangements as part of a management reorganisation process”.

The spokesperson added: “The payment of the statutory and enhanced redundancy packages payment of £62,592.44 is in keeping with the Council’s redundancy policy.”

The council employee who received the payout of £110,180 has not been named.

The local authority is currently in the process of recruiting a new town clerk and chief executive following the resignation of Valerie Watts last month.

The council has announced the role will have a salary of up to £107,000, following a recent decision by the local authority’s members to increase the salary for CEO by 11%.

Derry City Council was the only local authority in Northern Ireland and the UK to increase the salary for incoming CEOs in the last six months while some CEOs in the UK have been forced to take almost one quarter less than the salary of their predecessor on taking up their posts.

Responsibilities

The council spokesperson said: “The new salary level reflects the scale of responsibilities associated with the role and the progressive plans for the city over the coming years.”

The council states that it is seeking to appoint a person “to lead the organisation during a period of significant change and opportunity”.

It adds: “The successful candidate will have drive, innovation leadership, vision and skills to manage an organisation that employs over 650 people, has an annual budget of £36m and which provides a range of essential services to a population of some 110,000 people living in the district.”

Meanwhile, former Town Clerk Valerie Watts took up the post of CEO at Aberdeen City Council a few weeks ago.

It’s been reported that forty-eight council employees across Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales received remuneration of more than £250,000 in 2009/10, compared to 19 in 2008/09.

Matthew Sinclair of the Taxpayers’ Alliance said ratepayers would be “staggered that so many council employees are still getting such a generous deal”.

He said councils should be “scouring every inch of their expenditure to identify savings”.

Arnold Hatch of the Northern Ireland Local Government Association said salaries were the decision of councils.

He said “there is a small pool to draw from” and higher pay could be necessary to “attract the right person”.