Wales Audit Office to investigate Conwy County Council "redundancy" payout


Mike Williams

A “REDUNDANCY” payout to a senior Conwy Council officer who had already announced his plans to retire is to be investigated by the Wales Audit Office.

Aberconwy MP Guto Bebb, who last week blasted the local authority for paying £40,000 to Chief Education Officer Geraint James, now claims to have seen written evidence in the form of a staff bulletin that Mr James was already intending to retire before he picked up the five-figure redundancy package.

Mr Bebb said: “This bulletin written by the chief education officer to his colleagues is absolutely crystal clear and unambiguous.

“There is nothing that requires any further clarification.

“The officer clearly tells Conwy Borough Council staff that he is retiring and that the chief executive has been informed of this.

“I am appalled that councillors and the public have been misled in this matter and allowed a contrived redundancy payment of £40,000 to be paid out of scarce council funds.

“I shall be sharing this further evidence with the Wales Audit Office who I have asked to investigate this situation in detail.”

In a repsonse, Conwy Council said they had already presented the evidence to the Wales Audit Office themselves.

A spokesperson added: “It is not appropriate for us to comment on an individual employee.”

According to Mr Bebb, Mr James wrote in the bulletin, dated September 2013: “All this coincides with my planned personal career path to retire at the end of the academic year during which I reach my 60th year – namely summer 2014.

“I have shared this intention with the chief executive and cabinet portfolio member.
“We have agreed that this will provide the council with an opportunity to consider various options for the future delivery of education services.”

Mr Bebb said: “My concern is that council tax payers’ money has been used to make an entirely unnecessary and inappropriate redundancy payment.” 

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