Mar 6 2013 By Stuart Wilson
The taxpayer will shell out more than £200,000 to get shot of yet another council chief executive.
Councillors were presented with a shocking report this week outlining the plan to replace CEO David Anderson, saying that the “best interests of the council will be served” by removing him early from the top job.
It reveals the deal will ensure that South Ayrshire Council can’t be sued by its outgoing boss, but only if he agrees to sign it.
It’s the second time in five years the authority has offered an “early retirement” deal to its top man over concern over his ability to lead the council through tough times.
Mr Anderson’s predecessor Tom Cairns walked away with a £250,000 package.
Councillors were ordered to keep silent about the terms of the package.
A confidential paper put before the council on Tuesday morning warns “members are requested to note that the council is required to keep the existence, negotiations and terms of any agreement reached with the chief executive confidential”.
The move comes just days after the Post revealed that council leader Tory Bill McIntosh and his Labour deputy John McDowall presented Mr Anderson with a dossier highlighting their concerns over his performance in heading the 5000-strong workforce.
The confidential report explains that after taking advice from senior officials at the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA) they considered offering additional support to Mr Anderson to help him stay in the job.
However, “in view of the scale and time frames of the challenges facing the council” they opted instead to replace him.
Stunned councillors were presented with a report which outlined the terms of the golden handshake, agreed in principle with Mr Anderson over the past few weeks.
His contract will officially terminate on May 22.
Councillor Douglas Campbell, leader of the opposition SNP group, was on the panel which helped recruit Mr Anderson in 2008.
He believes that Mr Anderson has been treated badly and has a string of positive appraisals to his name.
He said: “I have real sympathy for David Anderson, who has more than 40 years of public service and has seen his career ruined by a whispering campaign. The real people on trial today are the councillors. We have policies and procedures for a reason.
“All staff are entitled to be treated in a fair and reasonable manner.
“If a group of councillors decide that your face doesn’t fit, is it right you can just sack him and use council taxpayers’ money in a compensation package?”
In a statement released by the council, Mr Anderson said he’d “enjoyed every moment” of his time in the job.
He added: “I greatly appreciate the support that I have had from many colleagues throughout my time in the council.
“I remain strongly committed to public service and I move on to the next phase of my public service career with much to remember from my time in South Ayrshire.”
Council leader, Bill McIntosh, said: “We would like to thank David for all his work during his time with South Ayrshire and we wish him every success for the future.”
Executive director, Eileen Howat, takes over as acting chief executive.