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Bexley Council chief executive paid £94K on top of salary when she left

PUBLISHED: 07:00 02 July 2019

Former Bexley Council chief executive Gill Steward. Picture: Archant

Former Bexley Council chief executive Gill Steward. Picture: Archant

Archant

The ex-chief executive of Bexley Council was given a £94,000 pay-out when she left the authority last year, it can be revealed.

Gill Steward, who joined the council in 2016, announced she would be stepping down from the £192,000 role in August last year.

In documents originally passed to the Local Democracy Service, a draft of the council's accounts show how much the former chief executive was "compensated for loss of employment".

At the time, the council refused to comment on whether Ms Steward was working her full notice period, or whether she was receiving any financial payments as she departed.

When replying to a Freedom of Information request the authority said the information was "exempt from disclosure".

The council said it is was not obligated to provide personal information that could breach the Data Protection Act.

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However, new documents reveal the chief executive was paid £94,000, on top of her salary from the start of the financial year of £78,000 and a £309 bonus.

Another £54,000 was paid to a former assistant chief executive monitoring officer who also left, bringing the total compensation payments to £148,647.

John O'Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said the figures raise questions over priorities.

He told the LDR service: "Despite many in the public sector facing a much-needed pay freeze to help bring the public finances under control, many town hall bosses are continuing to pocket huge remuneration packages, with staggering pay-outs for those leaving their jobs."

A council spokesman said: "We consider very carefully how we spend tax payers' money and only agree termination payments where this will support us to better deliver our priorities and objectives by facilitating changes in our management arrangements.

"We appointed a new chief executive who is driving forward our Transformation Programme.

"The post of assistant chief executive has remained vacant for around a year, resulting in a reduction in the cost of the our senior management."

Jackie Belton, formerly strategic director of corporate services at Lambeth Council, has recently taken over from interim chief exec Paul Moore.

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