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Council to debate £55k payout as boss made redundant
AN OUTGOING director at Swindon Council is in line to receive a severance payment worth more than £55,000.
The Adver can reveal that Matt Gott, the board director of Localities, is recommended to get a total of £55,314 when he leaves by March 31. This includes a basic redundancy payment of £15,502 plus a discretionary payment of £15,850 equating to two month’s salary.
The news comes only weeks after the Adver revealed that Hitesh Patel, the board director for transformation and strategic projects, will receive £97,000 as part of a package worth £109,000, which also includes a discretionary payment of nine months and National Insurance contributions.
Mr Gott, who joined Swindon Council in 2005 from the Audit Commission, previously held the council roles of director of strategy and development, and programme director, new organisational model, before his current post was created in March 2012.
He heads the Localities team, which gives more decision-making power to ward councillors, but is being laid off because his post will be abolished as part of plans to save £339,000.
The cross-party special committee,will meet today to consider the recommended severance in the report, written by council leader Coun Rod Bluh and chief executive Gavin Jones.
The council has an obligation to make a basic payment in relation to redundancy, but under special terms and conditions for chief officers, it is obliged to bear in mind its powers to make an additional payment of up to two years’ pay.
Coun Jim Grant, the Labour group leader, said: “We don’t believe that any council officer should be getting any more than any other council officer, pro rata. So the council should give to the directors no more in redundancy than they would pro rata to a dustbin collector etc.
“So we will be voting against this on those grounds.
“I think there are questions to be asked notwithstanding on why Hitesh Patel is getting more than Matt Gott for what would appear to be a similar length of service and level of seniority.”
Coun Bluh, who is waiting for the result of a review he instigated into the terms and conditions for director posts, said Mr Gott is proposed to receive less than Mr Patel for a number of reasons, including fewer role responsibilities and fewer years of board service.
He said: “We believe this is the best defendable deal we can get for the council.
“There’s no point going to a tribunal and losing and having to pay more money with a whole lot of legal costs on top.”
We haven’t finished the review yet so we are where we are. This is a more realistic package than Hitesh got.”