Council under attack for £512,000 ex-staff payout
A local authority is to pay out more than half a million pounds to a handful of its former staff.
Teignbridge District Council handed out £292,850 in redundancy pay to five staff, while pension costs for another four officers will cost £219,600 over the next three years, it has been revealed.
Figures in a 'Management Restructure' report given to councillors ahead of a meeting yesterday show the total bill for the former staff members is £512,450.
The Conservative-run council is also estimating a pension fund shortfall of almost £156,000 between this year and 2016-17.
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"The figures are just tucked away in an appendix to the short report," said Liberal Democrat opposition leader, Councillor Alan Connett.
"Clearly, they don't want to highlight how much council tax payers' money is being spent on pay-offs and pensions, just as they don't include the cost of the council's chief executive salary in the report," he said.
The report does not identify if the four staff affected by 'pension strain' payments are among the five to receive the redundancy payments.
"The council has been very secretive about these management changes. We have had to ask for information about who has left the authority, and sometimes only learned about it by accident," said Mr Connett.
"We were promised a full report this month – but while they want to talk up the savings they say will be made from next year, there's been no mention in the report about the redundancy pay-offs or pension costs."
It is estimated there will be costs of £32,000 this year through the restructure, but it should save £340,000 next year and £507,000 in 2017/18.
The council recently ordered a review of senior managers running the authority, but figures showed the shake-up of directors could add up to £59,000 a year to its pay bill. "At a time when the Conservatives want to close public toilets, pull out of CCTV services, and cut back on help for the poorest in our community, they have employed another chief officer at extra cost, but complain they have to cut back on services residents would like to keep," added Mr Connett.
A Teignbridge Council spokesman said no officer would receive any sum "in excess" of their contractual entitlement. "Brave decisions designed to help finances in the long-term rather than short-term fixes are the order of the day. The management restructure forms part of that process. We've reduced senior management posts from 18 to 10 and the directorate tier has been removed resulting in a saving of £340,000 in the next financial year," the spokesman said.
The restructure comes against a backdrop of shrinking local authority budgets, which could see more than half of public toilets closed in Teignbridge to make an annual saving of £152,000.