Compensation paid to former West Sussex County Council boss revealed

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Compensation paid to former West Sussex County Council chief executive Mark Hammond for the loss of his job last year has been disclosed for the first time.

Also revealed in reports issued by County Hall this week is the compensation paid to four top officers whose posts disappeared in a major restructuring which has reduced senior management costs by £900,000 a year.

Mr Hammond, who left the county council in September last year, received £232,408 in ‘salary, fees and allowances,’ and £140,000 in compensation for loss of employment.

His total remuneration, including employer’s pension contribution, was £397,232.

Mr Hammond was succeeded as chief executive by Kieran Stigant, previously executive director for customers and communities, last October.

He stepped down after six years at the helm, and the county council said in a statement issued at the time that he was leaving on ‘amicable terms, after agreement that the time is right, as the council makes significant changes to its senior management.’

However, earlier that month the Association of Local Authority Chief Executives accused the county council of ‘outrageous behaviour’ towards Mr Hammond, and alleged its leader tried to sack him after he was called in from leave.

A county council spokesman said: Mr Hammond received his contractual six months’ salary in lieu of notice, together with a payment of compensation for the contract’s termination.

“The figures are set out in the accounts in accordance with national requirements, and we will not comment further.”

Details of voluntary redundancy payments to the four senior officers whose posts disappeared in the management restructuring are also given in the accounts.

John Dixon, who was executive director adults and children, received £97,417 in salary, fees and allowances, and £188,963 compensation for loss of employment.

His total remuneration package, including employer’s pension contributions, was £305,766.

Corresponding figures for the other three officers were:

Julian Harris, director operations for infrastructure - £70,568, £106,389 and £298,500.

Richard Perry, director of policy and partnerships - £76,692, £98,066 and £349,837.

John Balsdon, head of strategic partnerships - £55,856, £36,090, and £150,894.

The county spokesman said these posts were removed from the organisation as part of an exercise to reduce senior management headcount.

He added: “The figures reflect the seniority and length of public service of the officers taking redundancy, and the payments were in accord with the standard voluntary redundancy terms that apply to all staff.

“The sums involved are a one-off payment and need to be set against the context of a recurring year on year saving in senior management costs of £900,000.”