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Suffolk: Departing Babergh and Mid Suffolk council chiefs to get £500,000 pay-off

PUBLISHED: 09:47 22 March 2011 | UPDATED: 11:37 24 March 2011

Andrew Good

Andrew Good

Archant

COUNCIL taxpayers in two Suffolk districts are facing a bill of more than half a million pounds to pay for the departures of their chief executives, we can reveal.

The new chief executive of Babergh/Mid Suffolk Charlie Adan.

Pat Rockall and Andrew Good are due to leave Babergh and Mid Suffolk councils in May after new chief executive Charlotte (Charlie) Adan takes over the role of chief executive of both councils.

Mrs Rockall, 56, will get a redundancy payment of £95,700 while Mr Good, who will also be 56 by the time he departs, will receive £84,500.

However it is their “pension pot” top-ups – under rules laid down by the local government pension scheme which covers authorities across England and Wales – that are the major expenses.

Mrs Rockall’s “pension pot” will be boosted by a one-off payment of £173,800 while Mr Good’s “pension pot” will be increased by £159,200.

Pat Rockall

That will enable both of them to be able to take early retirement on leaving their council posts.

The chairman of Babergh’s strategy committee Nicholas Ridley said the payments were made in accordance with the contracts that the two chiefs worked under.

He said: “Anyone who is over 55 can take early retirement and the authority has to make payments to cover that.” The normal retirement age for council staff is 60, under the provisions of the local government pension scheme.

He said both chief executives were receiving the minimum redundancy payments that were applicable because their positions were both ceasing to exist.

Mrs Rockall and Mr Good both said earlier this year that they would not be applying for the new combined job.

Last year Mrs Rockall earned £119,614 while Mr Good earned £101,539. Ms Adan will earn £111,467.

A spokesman for Babergh said Mrs Rockall and Mr Good would be able to look for other work after leaving their positions with the councils – however if their total earnings exceeded what they had been on as chief executive their pension payments would be cut back so they did not exceed this figure.

Mid Suffolk council leader Tim Passmore said he was not happy about the high figures involved, but it was written into their contracts and they had to be honoured.

He said: “Andrew Good has been a public servant for 40 years and this is the contract that exists – he will be getting the same kind of package that anyone would get.

“Anyone who leaves over the age of 55 is entitled to take early retirement and have their pensions made up. That may well change in the future in the wake of the Hutton Report but that is the situation at the moment.”

Mr Passmore said the savings on the cost of the merged services, and especially the appointment of a single chief executive meant that the costs of the changes would be covered in two years.

However the move did not impress Babergh Liberal Democrat Brian Lazenby who represents the South Cosford Ward near Hadleigh.

He said: “There are a lot of people who will be very shocked at the cost of this to the two districts – it is a great deal of money to find.”

Ms Adan will take over as chief executive of Babergh and Mid Suffolk councils in May.

She started work as a solicitor but has worked in the public sector for the last 17 years – most recently as interim assistant chief executive of Herefordshire public services partnership.

Ms Adan already knows the area well – her family home was in Lavenham.

She said: “I’m thrilled to be joining two councils that have track records of always trying to do things better and who are responding to the squeeze being placed on public sector finances in such an imaginative and forward-thinking way.

“I understand what change in organisations looks and feels like and I will be able to help guide councillors, staff, partners and the people of Babergh and Mid Suffolk who we serve through this period of transition.

“Change can be challenging, but change can also be rewarding and I hope I will be a catalyst for positive outcomes in the years ahead.

“I’m also delighted to be returning to a part of the world that I know and love and look forward to giving my very best to the people of Babergh and Mid Suffolk.”

25 comments

  • I thought you could only be made redundant if your job no longer exists. These jobs at the moment still exist so until the merger is agreed and takes place the jobs still exist, therefore no redundancy payments should be paid. If this is a precedent, then staff in schools, library's, fire stations etc which are due to close in say a years time should also be able to take the redundancy as soon as the proposed closure is mooted.

    Report this comment

    ITSTEAPOT

    Friday, March 25, 2011

  • @Dave Norman. The new joint chief executive will have responsibility for both Babergh and Mid Suffolk as these councils integrate the majority of their staffing structures. This process, which will realise annual savings of £1m from 201314, is not dependent on the outcome of the local poll into the prospective merger of the two.

    Report this comment

    BaberghComms

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

  • @ A Smith. Firstly, the payback is fully costed. If no other staff positions are integrated (ie if we look at the Chief Executive posts alone) the payback period would be 3.7 years. Why not take a look at the detailed buisness case and all the other supproting information: http:www.babergh.gov.ukBaberghHomeBabergh+and+Mid+Suffolk+Integration+and+Proposed+Merger Secondly, the savings we are talking about relate to the integration of most of our respective staffing structures and so are not dependent on merger happening.

    Report this comment

    BaberghComms

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

  • How can they be redundant when we haven't had the referendum yet on whether the merger should go ahead? Yet another PR exercise, paid for by us? And I think the Boundary Commission has to agree, once the referendum ahs been held.

    Report this comment

    Dave Norman

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

  • @ BaberghComms, obviously from the council and trying to justify the unjustifiable Using Evening Star figures cost of getting rid of old £513200, cost of new £111529, payback 4.67 years. Simples

    Report this comment

    A Smith

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

  • These are ludicrously high pay-offs & pension entitlements for 2 people who were running small, provincial rural councils!

    Report this comment

    Ipswich Red

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

  • So when is this actual going to save money, I make it at least 5 years to payback the redundancy. Do these people have GCSE maths

    Report this comment

    A Smith

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

  • @Crumbly. Firstly, we're not sure to which sentence of ours you can infer that we've "made it clear that the referendum (sic) is utterly pointless". Perhaps you could clarify this? Secondly, councillors are entitled to their own interpretation of the facts. thirdly, it woudl not be appropriate to discuss Mr Cummins own circumstances in such a public forum. @ A Smith, the contributions to the pension scheme are treated in a different way to the redundancy payments as they are not paid in one go as are the redundancies

    Report this comment

    BaberghComms

    Thursday, March 24, 2011

  • Andy has a good point. Both these people declined to apply for the new job. Both could have applied. It is not a redundancy for both councils. I do hope these decisions get called in by the relevant scrutiny committees but also get legally challenged by some tax payers or their reps. I hope both involved sleep well in the knowledge that their gains are at the cost of many services, espceially for the elderly.

    Report this comment

    geoffdog

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

  • It's about time the local authorities became conversant with the real world. Retire at 60 and oh lovely that after 55 they can have their pension pot topped up. As had already been said why was not one of them given the job of chief instead of bringing a third person into the equation? Still never mind perhaps we can make do with refuse collections every third week to pay for their top up?! It's time for some serious changes to be made - I think the L.A.'s have forgotten who they serve!

    Report this comment

    Grant

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

  • Money seems like water to the Councils. This is equivalent to £100 for each of 5000 poor elderly people, who need that money much more. Shocking and shameful.

    Report this comment

    Johnthebap

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

  • The Local Government Pension Scheme states “...It’s also possible to retire from age 55 and receive your benefits immediately, provided you have your employer's consent or you are made redundant or retired in the interests of business efficiency.” Therefore the question has to be asked, is there a proven case for business efficiency? Obviously those who approved the two redundanciesearly retirements believe that there is a proven case, whereby on the other hand many Council Tax Payers feel that there is not. Also the question still arises as to why the new post of Chief Executive to both Authorities was not ring fenced, and the two existing Chief Executives expected to apply for it. This would have necessitated only one redundancyearly retirement, thereby greatly reducing the cost to the Council Tax Payer. I believe that this practice is not unheard of in Local Government when staff members further down the pay scales are involved.

    Report this comment

    Andrew Cummins

    Thursday, March 24, 2011

  • There should be redundancy for only one of these people, the job still exists only one job instead of two. They both had the option to apply for the new post. What is the salary of the new Chief Executive ?

    Report this comment

    Andy

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

  • When will those responsible for these ludicrous decisions wake up to the 'real world' and accept that it is our money they are squandering on their pampered ex-staff ?

    Report this comment

    Brian Betts

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

  • @BaberghComms. I was making two points, firstly that you have made it clear that the referendum is utterly pointless. However, it will remain to be funded by the taxpayer. How much is it costing? Your problem: taxpayers are not that stupid - they recognise a hollow PR exercise when they see one. Secondly, that there is something wrong if all over 55s are entitled to leave with the kind of deals described here. In the article one Councillor from each Council states that is the case. However Mr Cummins has kindly clarified the point; these are sweeteners given to top management only.(Perhaps you should make sure your Councillors are better informed before you allow them to spout rubbish to the papers). It would give Chief Executive officers great motivation for engineering a merger when they know they'll both get a nice parting gift. Sorry you needed these points explaining to you.

    Report this comment

    crumbly

    Thursday, March 24, 2011

  • @Keith Drury. The decision on merging the two councils has NOT be taken. What has been agreed is support for a merger in principle, subject to a number of criteria being met which includes 50% plus one support for merger in both districts. The local poll will take place from May 9 and runs until June 6. Details as to how residnets can vote have already been sent out to all households and more will be sent at the start of the period already refered to.

    Report this comment

    BaberghComms

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

  • Forgive me for asking this, but, whats the point of a costly poll, when the decision has already been made, are we saying, if the poll goes against the merger, it will mean nothing to the people who took part in the poll, if that is true, There's a LAW called the HUMAN RIGHTS LAW, so if a decision is made against the peoples poll, surely the councils are ignoring the human rights of the peoples (taxpayers) want's in the two Suffolk's involved.

    Report this comment

    Keith Drury

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

  • @Babergh Comms - thanks for publicly confirming the outcome of the referendum is completely irrelevant to what the Council chooses to do. I can only assume there will be a mass exodus of over 55 year olds if they're all guaranteed such a lucrative 'golden goodbye'. Wouldn't say no myself!

    Report this comment

    crumbly

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

  • I'm in the wrong job, really I am. I'll swap with any councillor, anywhere. They can fight drunks on my salary and I'll sit on my well-upholstered behind for theirs!

    Report this comment

    PC Plod

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

  • This is disgraceful, but unfortunately probably quite legal. In my opionion the new post of Chief Executive to both Authorities should have been “ring fenced” for both existing Chief Executives to apply for if they wished. If neither applied for it they should both become unemployed with no pay-off. If both applied for it, the successful candidate should have taken over the new post, and the unsuccessful candidate could then have been given redundancy and early retirement, thus greatly reducing the cost to the tax payer. Retirement between the ages of 55 and 60 is not an automatic right, but subject to the approval of the employing authority. At least this is was I was told when I applied unsuccessfully to Babergh District Council for early retirement. It would appear that they apply different rules to Chief Officers and other staff members.

    Report this comment

    Andrew Cummins

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

  • Now wouldn't you think that MSDC and BDC would have ensured either one or the other CEO's would have been offered the job and avoided the redundancy payment to the ratepayers? I guess you must wonder who votes these councillors in that make such naff decisions?

    Report this comment

    Trevor Woolnough

    Friday, March 25, 2011

  • @ BaberghComms, my point was payback on this one position. I hope the 2 years payback is fully costed including applying the same redundancy rules to any staff made redundant with the merger. And finally are these saving dependant upon a yes vote to the merger, so a no vote could result it a 5 year payback.

    Report this comment

    A Smith

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

  • If this were a comedy it would be OTT!!

    Report this comment

    G C

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

  • @crumbly. Sorry - but i'm not clear as to the exact point you are making. However, let me repeat that the integration of staffing structures (to save money) across the two councils is not the focus of the local poll. The prospective merger of the two councils into a single entity is. @ A Smith. With the integration of staffing into a single structure as mentioned above, the pay back period will be less than 2 years

    Report this comment

    BaberghComms

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

  • Absolutely dreadful to us the taxpayer, we are deemed with huge council tax, in some cases, just to make others rich, I worked as a manager of a multi national for thirty years, when made redundant, was paid off with less than £20k, this is what the council calls saving money, just how many council taxes go towards that, apparently this deal was written into their contracts, I wonder how many taxpayers knew about it at the time, similar to the Government, things like this is always done behind closed doors.

    Report this comment

    Keith Drury

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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