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No more answers

No further answers on an alleged six-figure settlement to the former boss of West Sussex County Council were released at a meeting last week.

 

Nathan Elvery left the authority ‘by mutual consent’ in November after being ‘away from duties’ for the best part of two months on full pay. It is alleged he received a £265,000 settlement from the county council, although this figure has never been officially confirmed and no reasons have ever publicly been given for his departure.

 

The county council reportedly also spent more than £35,000 on legal advice before reaching the settlement.

 

The payment and the need for greater transparency were both raised on Friday by opposition members.

 

Cllr James Walsh, leader of the Lib Dem group, called it a ‘highly irresponsible waste of money’ and tabled a series of written questions on the subject.

 

Meanwhile, Labour Cllr Michael Jones attempted to amend the council’s pay police so any severance payments above £100,000 have to be voted on by all councillors before they can be agreed.

 

Cllr Jones said the money had been paid to Mr Elvery with ‘minimal if any reference to elected members’. He added: “It certainly does not make this council look very good to its local residents.”

 

But chairman Cllr Janet Duncton instead suggested a report should be prepared for the governance committee on the subject before any decision was taken.

 

Cllr Walsh asked: “Why do we need a report on something that is simple and we can all make a decision on immediately?”

 

Cllr Jones added: “There should be no hesitation on this, what does it need another report for?”

 

Cllr Bob Lanzer, cabinet member for the economy and corporate resources, said: “It would be premature on the spur of the moment to take a decision such as this without considering any impacts.

 

It’s right to wait for the report that the chairman has requested.”

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