SCRAPPED ROLE: Chief executive could receive more than half a million pounds
Tony Parkinson, the chief executive of Middlesbrough Council, Image: Middlesbrough Council Facebook
Middlesbrough Council’s chief executive could receive more than half a million pounds if the council votes to scrap his role next week.
The council will vote on Wednesday, November 17 on whether to make Tony Parkinson redundant.
The chief executive, who has been in post since 2016, will receive £518,822 if the council votes to restructure the senior management team.
However, £420,000 of that will be paid into the Teesside Pension Fund rather than as a direct payment to him.
The council will also have to pay a further £9,497 in National Insurance contributions to HMRC, bringing the total cost of the redundancy to £528,319.
Mayor Andy Preston and Mr Parkinson have been in talks with the Local Government Association (LGA) about the potential change.
Last year, it was revealed that the pair had to receive mediation from the LGA due to tensions.
According to Mr Preston they were ‘not getting on’ and ‘struggling to communicate in a constructive way’.
A report about the proposed changes claims that a different structure could allow for more ‘fluid dialogue and collaboration’ between the senior officers and the mayor/executive.
It states that one of the risks of having a chief executive is that there can be an overlap with senior politicians where the chief executive has had a high profile and/or there is a high profile political leader.
It also suggests that this can be especially prevalent when there is a directly-elected mayor, which is the case in Middlesbrough.
The chief executive position currently costs the council £190,083 per year.
The council claims that it could save up to an estimated £196,437 per year if the role was abolished and it will take just over 2.5 years to repay the redundancy costs if it chose to scrap the role for good.
However, if it decides to reappoint another chief executive following Mr Parkinson’s exit it would only save the council approximately £24,467 per year and take more than 21.5 years to pay off the redundancy costs.
If the council chose to merge the chief executive position with another director post it could save £187,368 per year and take just less than three years to pay back Mr Parkinson’s redundancy payment.
If the majority of councillors vote for the change next week, the chief executive has agreed to voluntary redundancy, which is £30,823 cheaper for the council than a compulsory redundancy.
If this goes ahead, Erik Scollay, the Council’s strategic director of adult social care and health integration, would become the interim head of paid service for the next three months.
Within that time, he will be expected to compile a report for the council recommending longer-term arrangements.
The report also states that savings from the change could be invested in frontline services.
Redcar and Cleveland Council have also restructured to scrap its chief executive position.
Words: Emily Craigie, Local Democracy Reporter
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