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Posted by: John Brace | 10th July 2017

Will councillors agree to Clare Fish retiring early at a cost of £105,000 tonight?

Will councillors agree to Clare Fish retiring early at a cost of £105,000 tonight?

Clare Fish 3rd November 2014 Families Wellbeing Policy and Performance Committee Wirral Council

Clare Fish 3rd November 2014 Families Wellbeing Policy and Performance Committee Wirral Council

ED – edited at 15:39 on 10.7.17 to add sentence about amendments moved by opposition councillors.

Tonight Wirral Council’s councillors meet for two public meetings. Both are in the Council Chamber at Wallasey Town Hall, Brighton Street, Seacombe, CH44 8ED.

The first regular public meeting of all 66 councillors starts at 6.00 pm and I’ll hopefully be asking questions during agenda item 5 of the Vice-Chair of the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee Cllr Paul Stuart (as the Chair Cllr Moira McLaughlin is unable to make the meeting tonight).

The second meeting is an extraordinary meeting called by 21 Conservative councillors. The requisition notice for that meeting and the motion on greenbelt policy can both be found on Wirral Council’s website.

Buried in the supplementary agenda for the first meeting on pages 15-16 are two previously exempt reports to the Employment and Appointments Committee meeting on the 27th June 2017 (see pages 15-16).

Both the Liberal Democrat councillors and the Conservative councillors have moved amendments to this to be voted on tonight.

The reports show that the recommendation to spend £105,000 on early retirement for Clare Fish (Executive Director for Strategy) and to create a new management post of Director of Strategy and Partnerships at a salary range of £103k-£115k (£146k including on costs).

As both the new post has a salary of over £100,000 and the early retirement cost for Clare Fish is over £100,000, both decisions can’t be delegated to the Employment and Appointments Committee, but instead the Employment and Appointments Committee makes a recommendation for a decision by a meeting of all Wirral Council’s councillors tonight.

The votes on the recommendation agreed in private at the Employment and Appointments Committee to do this was as follows.

For 4 (Cllr Phil Davies (proposer), Cllr Bernie Mooney (seconder), Cllr George Davies* and Cllr Chris Jones*)
Against 3 (Cllr Chris Blakeley, Cllr Lesley Rennie*, Cllr Phil Gilchrist*)
Abstain 1 (Cllr Adrian Jones*)

All votes with an asterisk are educated guesses, as the meeting chose to exclude the press and public from the decision (as you can watch below) and the names of the people voting are not recorded in the draft minutes (apart from the proposer and seconder who are assumed to vote for their recommendations!).

Employment and Appointments Committee (Wirral Council) 27th June 2017 Part 1 of 2

The details on the change to make it a legal requirement that all councillors voted on generous severance packages over £100,000 was referred to in further detail in a blog post from 2015 about a proposed £110,000 severance package for Liverpool City Council’s outgoing Director of Public Health.

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Responses

  1. John, I thought it was the law that stated any pay off above £100,000 must be discussed by full council – and not a referral made on a whim by the Employment and Appointments bumps on a log?

    In answer to your question, yes. It will fly through. Lib Dem leader Cllr wotsisname – whose name escapes – the handwringer with the beard, probably holds the local record for approving monster pay offs and is likely to have busted through the £10 million ceiling (of our money) by now.

    Ironic isn’t it that he is courted and feted for stuffing already bulging purses and wallets with more cash, yet we go to prison if we don’t festoon and engorge the ******** ********* with the same hard-earned notes via regular direct debit?

    • If you read the government issued guidance (which according to the legislation Wirral Council must when performing its functions have regard to, the relevant paragraph is paragraph 14 which I quote below:

      “14. In addition, under these arrangements, full council, or a meeting of members should be offered the opportunity to vote before large salary packages are offered in respect of a new appointment. The Secretary of State considers that £100,000 is the right level for that threshold to be set. For this purpose, salary packages should include salary, any bonuses, fees or allowances routinely payable to the appointee and any benefits in kind to which the officer is entitled as a result of their employment.”

      A pension being paid early (early retirement) is a benefit to the employee, therefore the full Council has to vote on it (or at least the councillors who are there at the public meeting).

      So a vote is required, but a discussion is optional.

      It’s very rare that someone goes to prison for not paying council tax on the Wirral.

      There were none at the time of this Cabinet report for the 2016-17 financial year and 205 in 2015-16.

      That’s 205 out of 147,426 properties. So only 1 out of 719 properties where people ended up in prison for non-payment of council tax.

      It takes a long time before it gets to that stage though (from an unpaid council tax bill to a prison sentence) and a lot of paperwork.

      Compared to say 1 in 29 properties that year where Wirral Council was thwarted in collecting the council tax as the person liable for council tax had died.

  2. Excellent move.
    Dying to thwart them.
    What if we all do that?
    That’ll learn them.


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