South Somerset outrage

February 21, 2011 10:04 AM

'Although it has not been an easy decision to leave the council,' Phil Dolan told the Local Government Chronicle in February 2010, ‘anyone who knows me will know that I am passionate about councils finding more efficient ways of working.’

I am sure his departing was made a lot easier by the fact he received a total taxpayer funded package of £569,000. Fifty-four-year-old Mr Dolan had applied for the early retirement package after just six years as chief executive of South Somerset council. The generous payment included £239,000 paid into his pension fund to cover the payments that would have been made had he carried on working to 65. But far from ending his career, this has just been a steppingstone for him to be re-employed by other local authorities as a consultant.

Too much of this is going on. Senior council executives are hoovering up enormous redundancy/retirement payments, only for them to hop into other highly paid council work shortly afterwards.

Only this week, the same South Somerset council has been bleating about being forced to make cuts in its front-line services, including care for the elderly and buses for rural residents. And yet, in addition to Nolan’s luxury payoff, it was happy to sign-off on two other overly generous payments for departing senior managers, including one of £380,00 for corporate director Mark Pollock, which included £164,000 for his pension pot. In total, three senior executives received money equivalent to asking each of South Somerset’s 162,000 residents to fork out £7 per person.

At the time, the Somerset County Gazette was fawning in its praise of Dolan’s six-year stint heading the council and said nothing about his enormous early retirement package. Its readers were certainly not so impressed. ‘Too much back-slapping here!’ said one local. ‘It’s also incredible how many council officials, police and teachers are allowed to retire in their 50s. Almost everyone else has to work to their mid-60s.’ ‘Mr Dolan is lucky to retire so early,’ said another. ‘Since council tax helps to pay for council pensions, we are paying for this. No wonder our council tax is so high!’

Tim Newark, Bath and South West TaxPayers’ Alliance'Although it has not been an easy decision to leave the council,' Phil Dolan told the Local Government Chronicle in February 2010, ‘anyone who knows me will know that I am passionate about councils finding more efficient ways of working.’

I am sure his departing was made a lot easier by the fact he received a total taxpayer funded package of £569,000. Fifty-four-year-old Mr Dolan had applied for the early retirement package after just six years as chief executive of South Somerset council. The generous payment included £239,000 paid into his pension fund to cover the payments that would have been made had he carried on working to 65. But far from ending his career, this has just been a steppingstone for him to be re-employed by other local authorities as a consultant.

Too much of this is going on. Senior council executives are hoovering up enormous redundancy/retirement payments, only for them to hop into other highly paid council work shortly afterwards.

Only this week, the same South Somerset council has been bleating about being forced to make cuts in its front-line services, including care for the elderly and buses for rural residents. And yet, in addition to Nolan’s luxury payoff, it was happy to sign-off on two other overly generous payments for departing senior managers, including one of £380,00 for corporate director Mark Pollock, which included £164,000 for his pension pot. In total, three senior executives received money equivalent to asking each of South Somerset’s 162,000 residents to fork out £7 per person.

At the time, the Somerset County Gazette was fawning in its praise of Dolan’s six-year stint heading the council and said nothing about his enormous early retirement package. Its readers were certainly not so impressed. ‘Too much back-slapping here!’ said one local. ‘It’s also incredible how many council officials, police and teachers are allowed to retire in their 50s. Almost everyone else has to work to their mid-60s.’ ‘Mr Dolan is lucky to retire so early,’ said another. ‘Since council tax helps to pay for council pensions, we are paying for this. No wonder our council tax is so high!’

Tim Newark, Bath and South West TaxPayers’ Alliance

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