Bosses of North Yorkshire’s new unitary authority say they have already saved taxpayers £3.8m a year in the transition from eight councils to one by cutting the roles of 24 senior managers.
North Yorkshire Council’s finance boss, Councillor Gareth Dadd, underlined that none of the senior staff would be paid enhanced severance packages as the Conservative-run authority works towards a total of £67m of efficiencies by uniting the county, district and borough councils.
The comments follow critics of local government reorgnisation questioning the amount of staff salary savings that it would achieve.
Coun Dadd’s remarks come just weeks after severance packages of £770,000 were paid to four senior officers at Hambleton District Council because they did not wish to work for the incoming unitary authority.
A highly charged meeting of the district council last November heard the directors were fearful about the ringfenced roles they would be given at North Yorkshire Council, despite no decisions having been made about their jobs.
A meeting of the unitary council’s executive heard the total exit costs for three senior management as a result of the transition had been estimated at £513,000, which had been raised as one of the former district councils had an enhanced redundancy scheme.
However, the changes had achieved £332,000 savings of salaries, meaning it would take around 18 months for the council to benefit from the redundancies.
Coun Dadd said the redundancy costs were “miniscule” in comparison .
He said: “That £3.8m is the first step on our journey to possibly £67m of saving. That’s come from what some would describe as fat cats, but let’s just say the higher earners in the local government family.
“We should not lose sight of the fact that we have straightaway produced £3.8m as a result of local government reorganisation.
The new council’s management structure has significantly fewer posts than the total for the previous eight councils, 60 compared to 36, resulting in some managers moving to the unitary authority without a specified role in the new structure.
A number of the senior staff left prior to vesting day on April 1, in the main having secured another role elsewhere, while some planned to retire just before or shortly after vesting day, while two are undertaking duties covering work for the new council which will take them up to their planned retirement.
An officer’s report to the executive states: “These duties make full use of their significant skills and experience to the benefit of the council and cover work areas that would otherwise require additional resource in terms of appointments, interim managers, or consultants.”