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Parties clash over council staff pay-outs
7:30am Saturday 28th April 2012 in News
THE Conservatives and Labour have clashed in a row over pay-offs to council staff.
Tory councillors Rob Gledhill and James Halden revealed Thurrock Council has spent more than £1million paying off staff since Labour took control two years ago.
But Labour council leader John Kent has made a staunch defence of the claims.
Cllr Gledhill said: “I found out in February that over £350,000 had been spent on staff pay-offs in the education department alone, so I then asked how much it was over the whole council.
“I have since been made aware the figure is almost certainly in excess of £1million.
“However, nearly three months later, simple questions such as the total amount paid out, how many staff this covers and whether pay-outs had been checked before being awarded are going unanswered.”
Cllr Halden said his request for information has also gone unanswered and accused Labour of “dragging its feet”.
Cllr Kent hit back at the claims, saying he has never been personally approached about the issue by the Tories.
He said: “The majority of these payments are redundancies, as a consequence of cuts in the council’s budget, brought about by the Conservative Government.
“Since we took control two years ago, the Labour administration changed the procedure for compromise agreements so they can no longer be signed off in secret by one person, but by a committee with members of other parties.
“This comes from the Tories, who, while they were in control, got rid of three chief executives and numerous directors and senior staff, costing millions of pounds, all of them signed off secretly by one person.”