FORMER chief executive of Scottish Borders Council David Hume walked away with more than £300,000 when he unexpectedly quit last August, writes Mark Entwistle.
Details of the financial settlement were published this week by the local authority on its website, as part of a remuneration report included in its unaudited accounts for 2011-12.
Accounting regulations require the council to publish Mr Hume’s pay, severance and pension benefits in the annual accounts, which are now open for inspection.
Mr Hume retired from his £123,000-a-year job after nine years because of what the local authority termed “a change in his personal circumstances”.
Mr Hume’s total package comprised £78,868 in salary, fees and allowances for the part financial year, as well as a pension lump sum of £136,392 and a further £103,174 in what the council calls “compensation for loss of employment”.
There has been controversy surrounding the circumstances of Mr Hume’s departure, resulting in complaints lodged with the Scottish Information Commissioner and a request for an independent inquiry.
This week, the council stated that the term “compensation for loss of employment”is a generic term covering redundancies, severance and retirement.
It added that the regulations do not require it to show all the individual circumstances of staff who have left the council’s employment.
Mr Hume’s “exit package” was just one of a number which cost the council a total of £5.2million.
The other person whose exit package was in the top £200,000 to £250,000 range was Ian Lindley, who left when his post, director of planning and economic development, was scrapped.
Council officials say the job losses will result in annual savings of £3.7million.
The total remuneration for SBC’s senior councillors, excluding leader David Parker, was £305,421.
Mr Parker took home £33,867. The total bill for all 34 elected councillors for 2011-12, including salaries, allowances and expenses, came to £760,000, a drop of £5,000 on the previous year.
Speaking to TheSouthern recently, current chief executive, Tracey Logan, admitted so much focus of attention on Mr Hume’s departure had not been helpful when everyone was suffering due to the current poor economic climate.
“It’s not one situation for senior staff and a different one for less-senior staff – we’re all in the same boat, with everyone still on a pay freeze,” she told us.
“We have been as open and transparent as we can. We are required to publish these details and it can all be taken at face value.”
Ms Logan said she felt people were entitled to a degree of privacy in their lives, even those working for public organisations such as the council.