It is curious to think that it is nearly a year ago to the day that Wirral Council Chief Executive Graham Burgess (aka Comrade Burgesski) announced his “retirement”.
It is curiouser still that in his wake the other two most powerful and influential Wirral Council officers during his tenure have now departed – and dearly!.
As Wirral Leaks readers will know the Burgess-Adderley-Degg triumvirate is now very much dead in the Wirral Waters and we are now in a position to ask the inevitable questions.Firstly as to whether their departures were in any way connected and secondly how much did it cost Wirral council taxpayers? .
We firmly believe the answer to the first question is a a big fat YES.
Secondly we calculate the cost of the corporate failure of acceding to their leaving presents as being a cool HALF A MILLION POUNDS.
Yes , £500,000 ! – most of which was needless expenditure as these 3 amigos did not “retire”,they were not made “redundant” and this was not a “management saving”. No doubt they will be euphemistically described as “other departures” in Wirral Council’s “Statement of Accounts”(see below).
So you may ask yourself – how did his Lordship work it out at half a million?.
Well working our way back in reverse order we reported last week Kevin “Addled” Adderley smashed through the £250K barrier – making it the largest exit package that Wirral Council have yet (publicly) made.
Of course the public were chucked out of the Employment & Appointments Committee where the exit package was agreed.This decision to this matter an exempt item was made by council legal bod Surjit Tour “with regard to all the circumstances” of the case.A phrase which is guaranteed to set the alarm bells ringing.
Then it was in July of this year and only thanks to a magnificently public spirited Wirral Council leaker we found out that council spin queen Emma Degg had left.We also found out that in addition to her mysterious £48,000 payment details of which were also leaked in October 2013 she had also received another £100K or thereabouts (and a further £27K in tax and NI costs picked up by the council) .Although as far as we can tell this little arrangement wasn’t subject to any form of scrutiny or approval – public or otherwise.
Which finally brings us to the Great White Shark himself – Graham Burgess – who retired from Wirral Council on December 31st 2014.
After taking advantage of the fact that in 2012 Wirral Council were so desperate for a new figurehead that it was with indecent haste that council leader Power Boy Pip Davies converted Burgess’s temporary contract into a permanent one.When after 2 years of a reign characterised by relentless self promotion , spin , costly town hall refurbishments , foreign jaunts and curious local hospitality arrangements it all inevitably became a bit “messy” .However with a permanent contract he was in a better position to negotiate some “encouragement” for him to depart.
Although long rumoured that he was paid off we think we have identified that he was actually paid £129,000 to leave Wirral Council.Burgess seems to have been paid this even though he was boasting that he had a lucrative new gig as Chief Executive at Torus Housing before he’d even left.
Of course it has never been officially confirmed that he received £129,000 worth of “encouragement” to leave Wirral Council – because the little people that are council tax payers may stump up the bill but are never allowed to know about such arrangements.
However hidden in plain sight in last week’s Audit & Risk Management Committee was the Statement of Accounts 2014/15 and on page 104 are details of “exit package” costs.The one departure that particularly took our eye was the sole person who was the beneficiary of a £129,000 payment.This can be seen listed in the table below in the cost band £100,001 – £150,000.
So here we think we can finally reveal the details of Burgess’s bung as we cannot identify anyone else who left Wirral Council during this time who would attract an exit package involving such a significant sum. Of course Wirral Council or Burgess himself (as we know he’s a keen follower of this blog) are welcome to deny this assumption on our part.
However when deals are done in secret and Wirral Council ignores government guidelines and indeed their own procedures when it comes to severance arrangements , rumour and speculation will thrive and (thankfully for us) leaks are inevitable.
A mystified source – who we’d like to thank for bringing this matter to our attention – is right to ask the pertinent question : “Mr Burgess work was extended and made permanent due to a decision of the Council Leader.For some reason Mr Burgess decided to go and became entitled to this?”
In answer to their question all we can say is that we don’t think Burgess had much choice but to go but they’re absolutely right – why did council taxpayers have to stump up a six figure golden handshake?.
Or indeed pay for the Friday nights in Mere Brook House?……..