Member of public prevented from asking pay off questions about top execs at Cumbria County Council

The Westmorland Gazette: Former CCC chief executive Jill Stannard Former CCC chief executive Jill Stannard

AN anti-council tax campaigner says he was barred from speaking at a major budget meeting of Cumbria County Council.

Lorry driver Steve Atkinson, of Pennington, planned to directly ask the cash-strapped authority how much it had paid out to two bosses who departed last year.

Mr Atkinson attended the council's budget setting meeting at the County Hall in Kendal, but was not permitted to speak and sat in the public gallery for the duration of the meeting.

He has spent the last nine months campaigning against the authority’s refusal to reveal the pay and pension deal paid to former Chief Executive Jill Stannard, and more recently its Chief Fire Officer Dominic Harrison, who stood down in October.

Mr Atkinson said: “My request to enter the council chamber under its public participation scheme was wholly relevant to the council, and wholly relevant to every single constituent in this county.

“The reason I was barred is wholly obvious to me. They remain terrified regarding the issue of payoffs being again brought out into the open.”

The meeting saw the Labour-Lib Dem run authority agree over £24 million in cuts to services like subsidised rural buses, transport help for college students as well as closing a fire station in Dalton-in-Furness.

Mr Atkinson believes that high-ranking officer pay remains the council’s "first priority" and services come secondary.

Mrs Stannard sparked a ‘golden handshake’ row last May after taking early retirement at the age of 55, from her £170,000-a-year role.

In a statement addressing Mr Atkinson's claims, the authority said it encouraged the public to take part in its meetings.

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“This must always be balanced, however, with the need to avoid comments regarding the circumstances of an individual or a member of staff, and this is explained in the council’s public participation scheme," said a council spokesman.

“The meeting followed an extensive public consultation, and saw more than six hours of debate and several public contributions.

“The biggest single amount of savings in the new financial year will come from freeing up more management and administrative savings from across the council, as it becomes a smaller organisation.

“Cumbria County Council is open and transparent on the remuneration of its senior officers and information on salaries is readily available on our website.

“Remuneration and redundancy payments for officers leaving the council is always included in the organisation’s audited annual accounts.

"The audited accounts for 2013/14 will be verified and published in the summer of 2014.”

The authority has pointe dout over 1500 people took part in its formal consultation on the budget with an additional several hundred letters, emails and petitions also submitted.

Comments (10)

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6:03pm Sun 23 Feb 14

snuggle-bunny says...

what did people expect- talk about feathering your nest at the publics expense
what did people expect- talk about feathering your nest at the publics expense snuggle-bunny

6:36pm Sun 23 Feb 14

SteveISITFAIR says...

So in essence we have this rabble of a County council, paying hundreds of thousands of pounds to two early retiring and already very well healed individuals, but whilst immediately later, depriving us all of well used bus services, Fire cover (certainly in Dalton and Barrow) and whilst inflicting a whole host of parking charges upon us all (another tax guys). They are also about to pay their staff at least the "living wage" but whilst doing so will also lift the taxes of those in private industrie on far less than the living wage in order of course to fund this.

Time the peoples of Cumbria, and for their own good, god rid of this utter rabble !

Dont you think so snuggles.
So in essence we have this rabble of a County council, paying hundreds of thousands of pounds to two early retiring and already very well healed individuals, but whilst immediately later, depriving us all of well used bus services, Fire cover (certainly in Dalton and Barrow) and whilst inflicting a whole host of parking charges upon us all (another tax guys). They are also about to pay their staff at least the "living wage" but whilst doing so will also lift the taxes of those in private industrie on far less than the living wage in order of course to fund this. Time the peoples of Cumbria, and for their own good, god rid of this utter rabble ! Dont you think so snuggles. SteveISITFAIR

6:28am Mon 24 Feb 14

searcher21c says...

According to google searches she was given a £400,000 hand-out plus, no doubt, an obscene level of publicly-paid-for pension. As I predicted last year, she has since found the need to supplement that with yet more taxpayers' money and commences as a non-executive director with Cumbria NHS Partnership trust. The few meetings she will have to attend for that will give her more than the state pension that a lot of people in this county have to live on, full stop. There is no limit to public executive greed. I repeat, when people retire from public posts with huge payoffs and pensions they should never be allowed to make money from the public again, whether directly or indirectly.
According to google searches she was given a £400,000 hand-out plus, no doubt, an obscene level of publicly-paid-for pension. As I predicted last year, she has since found the need to supplement that with yet more taxpayers' money and commences as a non-executive director with Cumbria NHS Partnership trust. The few meetings she will have to attend for that will give her more than the state pension that a lot of people in this county have to live on, full stop. There is no limit to public executive greed. I repeat, when people retire from public posts with huge payoffs and pensions they should never be allowed to make money from the public again, whether directly or indirectly. searcher21c

9:15am Mon 24 Feb 14

Grumpy oldman says...

snuggle-bunny wrote:
what did people expect- talk about feathering your nest at the publics expense
Everyone who can cope with the shock and disgust, can check what is paid to them at; http://www.taxpayers
alliance.com/
be warned it is not a site for the faint hearted..
[quote][p][bold]snuggle-bunny[/bold] wrote: what did people expect- talk about feathering your nest at the publics expense[/p][/quote]Everyone who can cope with the shock and disgust, can check what is paid to them at; http://www.taxpayers alliance.com/ be warned it is not a site for the faint hearted.. Grumpy oldman

1:11pm Mon 24 Feb 14

Kendal Jock says...

The Public Services scandals and waste of taxpayers money continue unabated, while Joe Bloggs on basic income or pension suffers.
The Public Services scandals and waste of taxpayers money continue unabated, while Joe Bloggs on basic income or pension suffers. Kendal Jock

6:48pm Mon 24 Feb 14

Milkbutnosugarplease says...

Well done, Steve Atkinson. You were censored by a cartel of expense-funded cronies who hope to collect the same level of pay-off. And who else retires at 55? Keep up the good work!
Well done, Steve Atkinson. You were censored by a cartel of expense-funded cronies who hope to collect the same level of pay-off. And who else retires at 55? Keep up the good work! Milkbutnosugarplease

7:00pm Mon 24 Feb 14

SteveISITFAIR says...

Thankyou for your kind comment milkbutnosugarplease
, and I can assure you that I have no thought whatever of giving up here, but particularly as Cumbria CC are now very much "in the spotlight" !

Incidentally, the huge sums spoken of here as awarded to the Stannards of this world are in no way "automatic entitlements". They are in fact the result of positive votes by Cllrs (in this case the party leaders - S Young J Airey etc), and who supply democracy to the issue - such as it is. It is also the very same people whom agreed to employ this CEO on that salary (£170.000) and also what payoff she receives at the end of contract (though in this case she retired early) - but still got to take all with her + another £42000 just for apparently leaving.
So what are we going to do about this disgrace guys ???
Thankyou for your kind comment milkbutnosugarplease , and I can assure you that I have no thought whatever of giving up here, but particularly as Cumbria CC are now very much "in the spotlight" ! Incidentally, the huge sums spoken of here as awarded to the Stannards of this world are in no way "automatic entitlements". They are in fact the result of positive votes by Cllrs (in this case the party leaders - S Young J Airey etc), and who supply democracy to the issue - such as it is. It is also the very same people whom agreed to employ this CEO on that salary (£170.000) and also what payoff she receives at the end of contract (though in this case she retired early) - but still got to take all with her + another £42000 just for apparently leaving. So what are we going to do about this disgrace guys ??? SteveISITFAIR

10:11pm Mon 24 Feb 14

hogheaven says...

Nothing new its common practice to reward High earners when they leave council offices, its just as bad in the NHS just last year 2500 administrators were made redundant and then were allowed to apply for their previous jobs back after pocketing thousands in redundancy payments .Its scandalous. Remember the MP's expenses scandal, they did not think that had done anything wrong, and how many went to jail?They should have been sacked, but I suppose they would have still be able to claim their generous pensions ..
Nothing new its common practice to reward High earners when they leave council offices, its just as bad in the NHS just last year 2500 administrators were made redundant and then were allowed to apply for their previous jobs back after pocketing thousands in redundancy payments .Its scandalous. Remember the MP's expenses scandal, they did not think that had done anything wrong, and how many went to jail?They should have been sacked, but I suppose they would have still be able to claim their generous pensions .. hogheaven

8:12pm Tue 25 Feb 14

searcher21c says...

According to Cumberland News she will get £12,000 a year for the part-time NHS job, the money clearly being needed as she is only on a pension of £85,000 a year. And that is being paid early, thanks to the "generosity" of council tax payers. I wonder what she's done with the £400,000 lump sum. Yet the NHS Trust says they are "lucky to get her." I cannot believe these people.
According to Cumberland News she will get £12,000 a year for the part-time NHS job, the money clearly being needed as she is only on a pension of £85,000 a year. And that is being paid early, thanks to the "generosity" of council tax payers. I wonder what she's done with the £400,000 lump sum. Yet the NHS Trust says they are "lucky to get her." I cannot believe these people. searcher21c

8:49pm Tue 25 Feb 14

SteveISITFAIR says...

We need to get rid off this cancerous garbage in our society guys, the sort of rubbish on the one hand, that awards the Stannards of this country with such obscene payoffs, whilst on the other, chopping already paid for and wholly required services without a single thought as to the consequences. For myself party politics is wholly to blame and I would therefore personally go for any person in a political party here.

There are elections in May, and if I were to be asked what I would do I would say "for pitys sake get rid of the party politicians at local level" !

Its up to us guys but just consider the alternative of doing nothing !
We need to get rid off this cancerous garbage in our society guys, the sort of rubbish on the one hand, that awards the Stannards of this country with such obscene payoffs, whilst on the other, chopping already paid for and wholly required services without a single thought as to the consequences. For myself party politics is wholly to blame and I would therefore personally go for any person in a political party here. There are elections in May, and if I were to be asked what I would do I would say "for pitys sake get rid of the party politicians at local level" ! Its up to us guys but just consider the alternative of doing nothing ! SteveISITFAIR

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