Retired council chief's pay and pension rumbles on to national television (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Retired council chief's pay and pension rumbles on to national television
A COUNCIL tax campaigner is to appear on a national television programme this weekend in his ongoing battle to force a council to reveal the pay and pension deal given to its retired chief executive.
Steve Atkinson, from Loppergarth, is to feature on the Sunday Politics Show fronted by broadcaster Andrew Neil on BBC1 at 11.45am on October 27.
Mr Atkinson has bombarded Cumbria County Council officials and councillors with emails and Freedom of Information requests after council boss Jill Stannard, 55, took early retirement in May.
Her reported £400,000 pay and pension deal sparked a ‘Golden handshakes’ political row at the time.
Mr Atkinson said: “I have been on the show talking about chief executive pay, the responses I have received from Eric Pickles and my Freedom of Information requests which Cumbria County Council have refused to reveal the information about what Jill Stannard was paid.
"As well as that, all of the council’s top directors are earning a total of nearly a million when things like Ulverston Police Station could close and Dalton fire station is under review due to council cuts.
" We have had Labour, Lib Dems and Conservatives in charge of the county council and look at the state we are in,” said Mr Atkinson who says he is not attached to any political party.
The county council has said it will publish the sum but only in the summer of 2014 when it is required to make its annual accounts publically available.
An internal review by the county council examining how it had responded to Mr Atkinson’s Freedom of Information requests, also found it had responded appropriately.
New council chief executive Diane Wood took over from Mrs Stannard in summer but accepted a £30,000 pay cut for the post which was previously paid £170,000 for heading an organisation with around 17,000 employees and a multi-million pound budget.
It is expected that around 600 jobs will be axed at the county council and some services are under threat as it seeks to bridge, what it describes as an £80 million shortfall in government funding over the next three years.
However, councillors have pledged to do all they can to try and protect frontline services.
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