Sunday, 2 March 2014

Thanet Council Chief Executive Less Work, Same Pay

Green Party Councillor and Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Thanet South, Ian Driver, has condemned a decision to halve the responsibilities of Thanet Council’s Chief Executive, Sue McGonigal, yet allow her to keep her full pay of £109,000 plus a £5,000 car allowance, as a “perverse way to reward failure”.
McGonigal who was previously Thanet Council’s Head of Finance, was promoted to the post of Chief Executive in 2009 but continued to retain her treasury responsibilities.
In a report discussed at a meeting of Thanet Council on Thursday 27th February it was agreed to transfer McGonigal’s financial responsibilities to a newly created post of Director of Corporate Services, leaving her to concentrate exclusively on Chief Executive responsibilities.
The changes are thought to have resulted from criticism of her management of a secret deal with TransEuropa Ferries which allowed the struggling company to run up massive debts through a payment deferral agreement with the Council . 
In April 2013 TranEuropa Ferries went into liquidation owing the Council £3.4 million. 
In December 2013 the Council agreed to write off the debt and cover its loses from reserves and grants. 
An investigation of these events, following a whistleblowing complaint from Driver, conducted by the District Auditor criticised McGonigal for failing to inform leading councillors about the secret deal, failing to keep proper records and failing to take external expert advice on the deal (2).
Said Driver “This is the first time I have ever heard of someone having their work responsibilities cut in half but allowed to keep their full pay. It’s a scandal, especially when its borne in mind that its very likely her duties were changed because she had badly managed the TransEuropa Ferries affair. This appears to be a new and perverse version of rewarding someone for failure. 
Its shameful that the Council’s ruling Labour Group and Conservative opposition did not insist on cutting her pay in line with her reduced responsibilities. This decision will send out yet another negative message to Thanet taxpayers who are fed up with the never ending stories of incompetence and dodgy dealing emanating from the Council”.

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