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Deputy leader defends chief exec retirement decision

Malvern Editorial 12th Nov, 2013 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

THE DEPUTY leader of Worcestershire County Council has hit back after criticism of a £95,000 payment into retiring chief exec Trish Haines’ pension scheme.

Coun Simon Geraghty told the Observer the appointments panel had chosen to accept Mrs Haines’ request to retire 18 months before her 60th birthday in a bid to have a new chief executive in place to lead the authority through changes ahead as it looks to save £98 million and reduce hundreds of jobs.

“Trish would have been 60 in about 18 months time, a chief exec going in that period in the middle of a big period of change would be quite destabilising and unsettling.

“Given the sums of money it is absolutely essential to have the right person in place. We very carefully considered the proposition and came to a majority decision that we should allow this retirement.

“This isn’t a disagreement between the leader and the chief exec or in any sense somebody being pushed out. This is something Trish requested in terms of looking ahead and realising the organisation needed somebody who was going to be constantly in post during that period.”

He said it would take around three years to get that money back as the new chief exec would be brought in on the lower end of the pay bracket – which would amount to around £150,000 – whereas Mrs Haines is currently at the top end of the scale.

That decision had been taken after looking at the salaries in other councils, particularly those which had recently recruited, he added.

A cross-party group will be set up to vet applicants, with a recommendation then being made to full council where all county councillors will be able to vote on who takes up the post, expected to be at the end of May next year.

“We wanted to make sure we had a very open and transparent process. It will be a very thorough process and every member of the council will have the opportunity to vote on the appointment as recommended by the group.”

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