A potentially costly decision to allow a chief fire officer to retire and then resume his job has been criticised by the public spending watchdog.
The taxman could levy nearly a quarter of a million pounds of "unauthorised payment charges" on Strathclyde Fire and Rescue chief fire officer Brian Sweeney and the board that recommended his retiral and re-employment.
Despite the fact that Mr Sweeney is personally responsible for more than £200,000 of the penalties, the board has agreed to pay it out of local taxpayers' funds.
Mr Sweeney retired in June 2009 and then resumed his job shortly after, allowing him to access his pension lump sum payment but not his annual pension.
This could potentially incur £235,000 of HM Revenue and Customs charges, with Mr Sweeney officially liable for £206,000 and the board accountable for the rest.
Although the taxman has not come looking for the money to date, the board has set aside local funding to pay all of the potential charges, including Mr Sweeney`s personal liability.
The Accounts Commission found that Mr Sweeney co-authored a report which recommended his own retirement and reappointment, and that he was present in meetings where it was discussed.
The report states: "We find that there was a systemic failure by the board and its officers to follow principles of good governance in its consideration of, and decisions about, the retirement and re-employment of the chief fire officer."
When the issue first emerged last year, the board`s convener said the auditor had "failed to provide a balanced or even accurate view" of their decision, prompting today`s more detailed assessment by the Accounts Commission.
The commission's latest findings said the processes followed by the board "fell short of acceptable standards and governance".