£104,000 pay off

Retiring - Council and PCT chief executive Joyce Redfearn
Retiring - Council and PCT chief executive Joyce Redfearn

WIGAN Council chief executive Joyce Redfearn will receive a £104,000 payment package after agreeing to take early retirement.

At Wednesday’s full council meeting, local councillors voted to accept Ms Redfearn’s decision to leave prematurely, but it will come at a cost.

It was announced earlier this week, that the 56-year-old had made her offer to assist with the saving of £66m over three years.

A report presented at the meeting at the town hall reveals that her total payoff package will include £104,000 redundancy payment.

Ms Redfearn is set to be replaced by one of three senior officers from the next management tier down; Deputy Chief Executive Donna Hall, Director of Places Gillian Bishop or Director of People Nick Hudson.

Her successor will receive a lower salary though, with a reduction of £42,000 from the current one of £187,785.

In total, it is estimated the council would save around £200,000 a year as a result.

However the move to recruit internally was criticised by Wigan’s Independent Group Leader, councillor Gary Wilkes.

He told the meeting: “I think we should be externally advertising the role.

“I know the leader disagrees with that but I am asking him to reconsider.

“It is a big job and I think we should replace Joyce with the best person in the country, not just the town.”

The size of the Chief Executive’s salary also received criticism from councillors.

Coun Sean Ell, leader of the Conservative party, deemed the current salary as “reprehensible” and questioned why such a decision had not been made earlier.

He said: “I am disappointed that this issue wasn’t gone through last year.

“The amount of money is reprehensible and we need a more reasonable salary level.

“While we regret losing Joyce, we welcome the fact that we will be spending less on management.”

Ms Redfearn has been holding a dual role for the past year, also managing the PCT which will formerly dissolve in April 2013.

The present PCT deputy MD, Trish Anderson, will take charge until GP consortia replace it.

Leader of Wigan Council Lord Peter Smith said: “I’ve worked hard to make sure this council moves forward.

“We don’t want to diminish the services this council does.

“The costs are high but there are significant savings that will be made.”