The South Somerset Jackpot – £1.3 million shared by 3 senior officers

Fat catIt normally takes a mass murder to get a minor rural area like South Somerset in the headlines, but this weekend our beloved Council ( Band D: £1449.47 per year) hit the jackpot with the front page and an inside story in the Telegraph. The essential facts: 

  •  Phil Dolan trousered £569,000 of Council Taxpayers’ money after voluntarily leaving his post as Chief Executive of SSDC after just 6 years- £157,000 for salary, a redundancy payment of £167,000 and a lovely pension top up of £239,000. Breathtaking.  He is quoted in the  Daily Telegraph “There are no fat cat golden handshakes”. So that’s all right then.
  • Corporate Director Mark Pollock earned £52,000 for seven months’ work, plus £112,000 for loss of office, and £164,000 for his pension fund.
  • David Stapleton was paid £56,000 for 8 months’ work, plus £121,000 for loss of office and £131,000 for pension contributions.The total, £1.2 million, is not far short of the £1.35 million Somerset County Council achieved by reducing library opening hours . Or, to put it another way, 827 band D householders – say the populations of Horsington and South, possibly North Cheriton – coughed up their entire council tax for these guys.

Phil Dolan, no doubt exhausted, has taken early retirement. The other two, one of whose jobs was to liaise with Somerset County Council on the Hinkley Point power station (no we don’t believe it either), and the other was in charge of “health and wellbeing” (we thought the NHS did that), have both gone on to lucrative employment in the local government mafia of quangoes, talkshops and consultancies.

In its defence, the council states “This restructure involved a reduction in staff from having a Chief Executive and four Corporate Directors to having a shared Chief Executive and two directors.

“The departure of the former CEO and the 2 Directors, who were all made redundant, has helped facilitate annual savings of £431k per annum. It is normal practice and a legal requirement in both the public and the private sector for senior executives to receive payment for their loss of employment.”

All very well, but it begs the question of why were at least two of these people were paid so much in the first place for what look like non jobs, already duplicated by the work of  other agencies?

And did any of our elected councillors speak out about the poor value for money these roles represented or their severance terms? Or were they too busy?

How many other publicly-funded non jobsworths are lurking in the undergrowth at SSDC or SCC?
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