Cost-cutter's £174k pay-off
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Reporting local life since 1854 40pMonday, September 24, 2012
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COST-CUT TERS174k PAY-OFF
Protesters fury at directors golden handshake
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BY ALEX CAMPBELLalex.firstname.lastname@example.org
A CITY council director who over-saw unprecedented 14.6 millioncuts to childrens services was paid174,000 to walk away from herj o b.
Sharon Menghini, picturedb e l ow, quit the council and pock-eted the golden handshake afterStoke-on-Trent City Councilrevealed plans to merge her role incharge of childrens services.
The pay-out, combined with151,515 in salary and expenses and22,953 in pension contributions,took Dr Menghinis total pay packetfor 2011/12 to 348,218.
It comes as the authority over-sees cuts of 24 million across thecity, following 35.6 millionsavings last year, with chil-d re ns services facing a3.5 million overspend.
Dr Menghinis payoutmade her the citys mostexpensive officer last year even topping the 223,203in salary, expenses and pen-sion payments claimed bychief executive Johnvan de Laarschot.
She oversaw cutsof 9.5 million in2011/12 and 5.1million for thecurrent financial
year, including botched plans toshut seven childrens centreswhich instead saw all 16 centres hitwith major cutbacks.
Dr Menghini is now running herown consultancy firm, S h a ro nMenghini Education & ChildrenServices Consultancy, and listsimplementing budget cutsamong her expertise.
Independent councillor DaveConway was responsible forexamining the cutbacks in his roleas chairman of the childrens ser-vices scrutiny committee.
He said: Along with the pro-testers, we fought tooth and nail toreduce the cuts to childrensc e n t re s.
We were told every penny had tobe saved.
Now we find she has walkedaway with this astronomical
amount.It is the sort of money
that most people can onlydream of.
The council axed DrMenghinis post after shequit, and pooled the manage-
ment of childrens servicesand adult social
care in April.Tony Oakman
is now in chargeof a mergedPe o p l e d i re c t -o r at e,
although Eleanor Brazil has beenappointed as an interim director ofch i l d re ns services.
And Mr van de Laarschot hasalso now hired assistant chief exec-utive Charlie Stewart on 132,000-a-ye a r.
Cuts to childrens centres thisyear include in-house teachers los-ing their jobs and 1 charges intro-duced for previously free sessionslike baby massage groups.
Mother-of-two Emma Boote, aged35, of Norton, a member of the SaveOur Childrens Centres group, said:We know Sharon would havefought for childrens serviceswhereas we dont know where westand with the new director.
But this is a huge amount ofmoney to be given just for walkingaway and surely it could have beenspent on stopping the city becom-ing more and more deprived.
Matthew Sinclair, chief executiveof the TaxPayers Alliance, said:Golden goodbyes on this scalecompletely undermine the savingscouncils are having to find.
When the council has doled outsuch a vast sum to Dr Menghinimerely for quitting her job, tax-payers have every right to feelutterly cheated.
The council said the changes tothe People directorate will be com-pleted within a year.
Mr Stewart, said: The post ofdirector of children and youngpeoples services has been deletedand we expect the transitionalarrangements to be completed inthe next 12 months, which will alsosave a director-level salary.
Should council bosses receivegolden goodbyes? Email us email@example.com
SAVED: MumEmma Booteand daughterBethanyjoined aprotestagainstplans toclosechildrenscentres lastJuly.
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