After a taxpayer-funded £138,651 severance package was paid to Harrow Council’s chief executive when it ditched the role, 12 months on the authority has rehired the same man for the same job.
Michael Lockwood, who took the top dog role at the Civic Centre in April 2007 left the authority last year after the role was deleted by the previous Conservative administration.
In November last year the authority’s chief officers’ employment panel approved a severance package consisting of a compensation payment of £30,000 and Mr Lockwood’s Local Government Pension Scheme lump sum payment entitlement of £138,651.
He was also on an annual pension of £65,179.
Slide across the image to find out who your new Harrow chief executive is, £138,651 later....
However the Labour administration, who took power in May, declared an interest in restoring the role, and Mr Lockwood has now been hired once more, after getwestlondon reported that he was being linked with a return to the role in September.
Mr Lockwood said: “It is once again a privilege to be asked to lead Harrow Council’s senior team. Harrow’s staff have always been a unique strength to the borough and I will be calling on their expertise and support in facing a new set of challenges.
“Harrow needs to maintain its reputation for providing excellent services in partnership with the community in the face of unprecedented financial pressures and the tough decisions that stem from that.
“My three priorities are to work with our key partners as we face these budget challenges; to market Harrow Council’s expertise across the country and secure new investment.
“I again look forward to working with Harrow Council’s outstanding staff and members and building Harrow’s reputation as a leading authority”
Upon resignation, Mr Lockwood’s salary was £183,097 a year, but it in understood that he will receive slightly less than that in returning to the role.
Leader of the council David Perry (Labour) said: “After an open recruitment process with some very strong candidates, we are very pleased that Michael has accepted our offer to return to Harrow. It was clear to us that he has the right experience to take Harrow forward and commands the respect of our employees.”
Mr Lockwood’s appointment is being recommended to the full council meeting on November 13, and Paul Najsarek will remain as interim head of paid service until the new chief executive starts. He will then return to his position as corporate director for community, health and wellbeing.
Conservative opposition leader Ms Hall said: “There’s a tragic irony in this being announced the day Councillor Perry met with voluntary organisations to justify why he’s likely going to cut their funding.
“By restoring this position, Labour are now going to pay someone over £25,000 more than the Prime Minister to tell them what to do, while proposing to close the Arts Centre, Harrow Museum, and several children’s centres – as well as planning cuts to the money for our parks, for cleaning our streets and for looking after the elderly and disabled.”