MORE than £200,000 of taxpayers’ money has been used to axe a council’s long serving chief executive, new figures have revealed.
Nick Hodgson, who spent 38 years with Derbyshire County Council – 16 of them as chief executive was given what South Derbyshire MP, Heather Wheeler, previously described as the ‘golden boot’ by Labour rather than a golden handshake.
In the authority’s annual statement of accounts published yesterday revealed Mr Hodgson, 61, was paid £219,000 to leave his post - no reason being revealed.
The announcement of his axing came just two weeks after Labour’s landslide election win that put an end to four years’ of Tory rule.
The sum has been blasted by the Taxpayers’ Alliance, with director John O’Connell claiming people will be “astounded” at the size of the payout.
He said: “It is especially galling at a time when frontline services are finding long-overdue savings.
“The size of the payout is totally inappropriate, and shows councillors to be completely out of touch with the people they represent.”
Leader Anne Western insisted the decision to part with Mr Hodgson was part of a wider management shake-up that will save the authority £2.2 million.
The council said 27 senior management posts will be axed by 2017 under the shake-up.
Mrs Western said: “It was always understood that the figure paid to Mr Hodgson would be published in the annual accounts and we are pleased to be able to do this.
“Mr Hodgson’s work over a number of years helped the county achieve a great deal and we thank him for his committed service.”
Councillor Western said it was now vital that the county council continued to focus on the challenges ahead, adding: “During our first year leading Derbyshire we’ve already made some great strides. Unprecedented Government cuts mean we’ve got to cut £157million from our budget over five years.
“Earlier this month we announced a re-structure of our senior management team which will save over £2million per year.
“We have in place a committed, expert, hardworking team which tests every spending decision and does all it can to get the best deal for everyone in Derbyshire.”