Shropshire Star

Council confirms £476k pension payment over chief exec departure

A council paid nearly half a million pounds in pension fund costs after getting rid of its chief executive, it has been revealed.

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The figure is confirmed in Shropshire Council's 'financial outturn' report which shows it had incurred £476,000 of costs relating to the chief executive and PA positions.

The authority has now confirmed that those costs relate to the departure of it its former chief executive Clive Wright.

The figure does not however relate to any settlement as part of the decision to get rid of Mr Wright – a figure which has not yet been revealed by the authority.

A statement on the payment from the council's current leader, Councillor Lezley Picton, also appears to confirm it was her predecessor, Peter Nutting's decision to remove Mr Wright.

Mr Wright, who had been chief executive at the authority since 2012, left the council in February last year – just weeks before the pandemic engulfed the country.

In a message to staff at the time he said the decision had been agreed with Councillor Nutting, who is no longer on the authority after losing his seat in May's elections.

Mr Wright said: "I have agreed with the leader that I will leave my post as chief executive of Shropshire Council with immediate effect."

Shropshire Council's former chief executive Clive Wright

Councillor Picton, who was elected as the authority's new leader in May, said the costs of £476,000 directly related to the departure of Mr Wright.

She said: "There are strict rules in place that govern payments from councils to Pension Funds and, in line with these statutory requirements, the council has incurred costs of £476,000 following the departure of our previous chief executive – a decision which was made by our former leader.

“The sum above is a pension strain cost to the council that legally has to be paid.

“The pension strain includes the pension cost to us as a council over a 10-year period and happens when a senior manager who is part of the pension scheme is made redundant before the pensionable age.”

Mr Wright was replaced by Andy Begley, who is the council's current chief executive.