22nd May, 2019

'Priorities wrong' as two Solihull council executives paid off for £270k

Felix Nobes 2nd Mar, 2018

PAY-OFFS totalling £270,000 for two executives have been approved by Solihull council, despite opposition.

The payoffs have been labelled as “efficiency savings” as the positions will be made redundant.

Green party and Liberal Democrat councillors who opposed the motion.

Green councillors questioned how the council couldn’t find the £15,000 needed to make sure every council employee is paid the ‘living wage’, but could find over a quarter of a million pounds to pay off the unelected senior council officers.

Green councillor Max McLoughlin, who represents Shirley South, inquired as to whether the public would give the council a mandate for the redundancy pay packages.

During a full council meeting, Conservative councillor Robert Hulland defended the decision, saying the council is required to make savings and the payoffs would pay for themselves within three years.

Coun McLoughlin said: “It’s shocking that we can find over a quarter of a million to pay two executives off, but not £15,000 to make sure all the lowest paid council workers can get by.

“This wouldn’t happen in business. I can’t help but feel this council has its priorities all wrong.”

A Liberal Democrat representative said: “The Liberal Democrat councillors were not satisfied with the changes involved in the re-organisation nor the costs involved at this time of financial stringency.”

A Solihull council spokesperson referred us to a report submitted to full council which said: “The severance costs are at a level that requires Full Council approval in accordance with the Pay Policy Statement.”

The severance packages were justified on “grounds of business efficiency” for “downsizing” the Stronger Communities Leadership Team.

The Head of Libraries and Arts role cut by council had a £161,967 one-off severance payment.

In the report, it states the Head of Libraries and Arts “has been absent from work for some months”.

For the scrapped Head of Partnerships and Commissioning role, a one-off payment of £105,867 had to be paid.

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