A union official today slammed a £500,000 payout to a former County Hall partnership boss as “obscene” at a time when council staff were having bonuses cut.
Les Parker, of Unite, described the payments as “disgusting” and called for a “complete re-examination” of how Lancashire County Council is run.
The comments came as police revealed they had been informed of the internal investigation now going on at County Hall. Lancashire Constabulary said the force had been contacted by the authority and “made aware” of the situation.
“At the present moment, this has not been officially reported to the police and therefore it is not being investigated formally by the constabulary,” said a spokesman.The controversy follows payments of £231,709 and £275,888 made to David McElhinney when he was chief executive of the County Hall partnership with BT, One Connect Limited. He was brought in to run the body, working two-and-a-half days a week in Preston on a salary of £40,000 a year, sharing his time with managing Liverpool Council’s partnership with BT.
A council report showed no salary payments were made to him between May 2011 and March 2013. But, instead, two remuneration payments totalling more than £500,000 were agreed by OCL.
Coun Geoff Driver, the leader of LCC when Mr Elhinney was in post, has said the payments were underwritten by BT and had not cost Lancashire taxpayers money.But Mr Parker said the move was upsetting at a time when vehicle maintenance and highways staff had lost their 28 per cent bonus payments amounting in some cases to between £3,000 and £4,000.
“I think it’s obscene,” he stormed. “My members have lost thousands of pounds a year and have to work harder for less pay. I think that’s disgusting and immoral.
“There are people who effectively lost their jobs and had to leave because of their reduced wages, yet Mr McElhinney has been paid half a million.”
The authority needs to get a grip. In fact, we need we need to have a complete re-examination of how this council is run.”