My KCC Election Manifesto & Video

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Thanet Council Chief Executive - Less Work Same Pay

Green Party Councillor and Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Thanet South, Ian Driver, has condemned plans to halve the responsibilities of Thanet Council’s Chief Executive, Sue McGonigal, yet allow her to keep her full pay of £109,000 plus a £5,000 car allowance, as a “perverse way to reward failure”.
McGonigal who was previously...
Thanet Council’s Head of Finance, was promoted to the post of Chief Executive in 2009 but continued to retain her treasury responsibilities.
In a report discussed at a meeting of Thanet Council on Thursday 27th February it was agreed to transfer McGonigal’s financial responsibilities to a newly created post of Director of Corporate Services, leaving her to concentrate exclusively on Chief Executive responsibilities.
The changes are thought to have resulted from criticism of her management of a secret deal with TransEuropa Ferries which allowed the struggling company to run up massive debts through a payment deferral agreement with the Council .
In April 2013 TranEuropa Ferries went into liquidation owing the Council £3.4 million.
In December 2013 the Council agreed to write off the debt and cover its loses from reserves and grants.
An investigation of these events, following a whistleblowing complaint from Driver, conducted by the District Auditor criticised McGonigal for failing to inform leading councillors about the secret deal, failing to keep proper records and failing to take external expert advice on the deal (2).
Said Driver “This is the first time I have ever heard of someone having their work responsibilities cut in half but allowed to keep their full pay. It’s a scandal, especially when its borne in mind that its very likely her duties were changed because she had badly managed the TransEuropa Ferries affair. This appears to be a new and perverse version of rewarding someone for failure.
Its shameful that the Council’s ruling Labour Group and Conservative opposition did not insist on cutting her pay in line with her reduced responsibilities. This decision will send out yet another negative message to Thanet taxpayers who are fed up with the never ending stories of incompetence and dodgy dealing emanating from the Council”.
For more information contact Ian Driver
1. See Thanet Council reports 27 February 2014

2. See Report of District Auditor attached to this release


  1. Before TDC do any thing should they not wait for the LGA peers report to be completed and published? Unless of course they are just planning to bin it.
    There's no doubt that the combined roles were too much for one person in a council facing all the problems of Thanet, it may work elsewhere but not here.
    Looks like bad legal advice will lead to another £1.5 millions having to be paid out to animal exporters. The legal dept seems to be central in many of the recent losses.
    I also read that TDC think that the Dreamland 16 acre site with the potential to build over 400 dwellings is worth less than £500,000. I understood that a CPO has to value land on its potential even though planning permission may not have been granted. Looks like more legal woes ahead.

  2. Awful as usual. Which councillor approved this It's not Ferry Everitt again is it? And a £5k allowance - that's almost a Rolls Royce. Get her sacked and call in the cops.

  3. For many years, officers have controlled TDC because councillors believed that they could not be prosecuted if they followed the advice which they were given. Officers became more self-important and began issuing specific advice to councillors rather than outlining the options available to them. In this climate it was stupid and irresponsible of the council to delegate powers to officers to make decisions on behalf of the council. The failure of our elected councillors to properly control and direct the officers is at the root of the current difficulties. As for employing a new finance officer to do half of McG's job, I see this as yet another example of the malaise affecting Britain, whereby the fat-cats get paid irrespective of performance, whereas everybody else is expected to do more for less. it will be interesting to see what the ordinary council workers and their unions make of it. They have seen their pay progressively cut over the last five years whilst simultaneously being expected to do more for the pittance they are paid. The lesson of this debacle would appear to be: If you want to get your workload reduced to a manageable level, without giving up any of your remuneration, make a complete hash of those parts of your job you want to give up. Of course, I suspect that different rules will apply to the thin cats in the lower ranks.

  4. The only reason McGonigal got the chief executive job in the first place was because she was very conveniently the only candidate to fit the new combined CEO and CFO post. This in the restructure she worked up with departing CEO Richard Samuel, that just happened to make him qualify for a redundancy pay-off costing £173k when he was due to retire a year later anyway, and so that was never going to be in the tax payers interest.

    It would appear that now the roll is back to being CEO only it should be opened up to an array of stronger candidates, even before you consider the negligence of Transeuropa, EKOLLP, and her disastrous and expensive restructures. These latter items should be the reason for her removal without any pay-off, i.e failure of statutory duty as S151 Officer.

  5. When people on far lower wages are fired for pitiful little mistakes, you have to wonder just how big the blunders need to be before one of the big earners takes a hit. After all, the excuse these people usually give for being paid so much money is the level of responsibility they have. Well, you don't have responsibility for something if you aren't also accountable.

  6. Dear Cllr Driver please amend typo on 17.21 post from roll to role, thanks.