Paying for the chief executive

SIR – You report correctly (Comet April 23, page 5) that Stevenage Borough Council met in closed session on April 22 to agree the severance payment to the former Chief Executive of the council, Peter Ollis, who resigned on April 24 and who had been with t

SIR - You report correctly (Comet April 23, page 5) that Stevenage Borough Council met in closed session on April 22 to agree the severance payment to the former Chief Executive of the council, Peter Ollis, who resigned on April 24 and who had been with the council for little over two years. However, the reported comments by the Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate show how little he understands about the situation and the reported one line tight lipped comment on the issue from the Labour council leader could be mistaken for a gleeful smile at the outcome.

Let me state clearly that Peter Ollis was an excellent Chief Executive of Stevenage Borough Council. He fulfilled his promise of clarity of purpose and strategic direction for the council and made sure that the Labour group got to grips with some of the efficiencies and economies that we all knew should have been done decades earlier. In so doing, he transformed the council's finances from heading for the rocks to a much healthier state. He was honest and intelligent and it is a very great shame that his talents have been lost from the town because of the whims of the Labour party.

By holding the meeting in closed session, all borough councillors including myself are effectively gagged as regards what happened at the meeting and the size of the severance payment. However, it is a matter of public record that in 07/08 the Chief Executive was paid between �110,000 and �120,000 a year (see the council's statement of accounts 07/08 page 26). Readers will therefore not find it hard to work out the sort of figure that Labour have had to pay (from hard pressed council taxpayers) for him to go. In June 2010, the exact figure will, I am told, be made public in the 09/10 statement of accounts.

In 25 years on Stevenage Borough Council, I have rarely seen such a disgraceful business. In that time, I am the only Councillor who has ever seriously challenged Labour on policy issues at the council and I have found, perhaps like the Chief Executive that if you upset Labour in Stevenage, you pay the price. Unfortunately, this time, all council taxpayers are also made to pay.

ROBIN PARKER

Leader of the Liberal Democrats and Manor Ward Councillor

Most Read

Stevenage Borough Council

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter