The secrecy continues over council boss £400K payout

This is the staffing matters and urgency committee which agreed the £400K payout. Photograph: City of York Council / YouTube

The minutes of a secret meeting – due to decide on the early retirement of a senior staff member believed to be City of York Council’s chief executive – have been published.

But the summary of the council meeting, held on February 17, does not confirm many details of the discussion.

The minutes of the staffing matters and urgency committee, published on the council’s website, say a senior staff member’s request for early retirement was agreed.

And members of the committee looked at a proposed restructure of the council’s corporate management team – which could save the local authority £50,000.

It was agreed that the changes would be discussed on March 24.

Public excluded

The Press reported last month that council chief executive Mary Weastell is believed to have taken early retirement and what is understood to be a £400,000 settlement, believed to have been agreed at the meeting.

And that it is understood Ms Weastell was planning to take the council to an employment tribunal.

The minutes of the meeting say no one on the committee – which was made up of council leader Keith Aspden, deputy council leader Andy D’Agorne, Labour group leader Danny Myers and Liberal Democrat councillor Anne Hook – declared a personal, prejudicial or pecuniary interest in the issues.

And that the press and public were excluded from the meeting on the basis that information relating to individuals and their financial affairs would be discussed.

  • Following a detailed discussion and in answer to members’ questions, it was noted that officers could provide further clarity regarding: the timeline to incorporate the revised customer and corporate services structure, the council’s constitution concerning staffing matters, statutory payments, redundancy and pension costs, future arrangements.

The local democracy reporter asked the council for details of the decision made at the meeting on February 18 but no information was provided.

Under council guidance published in the meeting documents, if a council officer is made redundant or an exit payment of more than £100,000 is agreed, the decision should be approved in public at a full council meeting.

But – if the departure of a member of staff is classified as early retirement – this is not necessary and the details do not need to be discussed at a public meeting.