Revealing council chief’s pay-off would ‘cause ­unnecessary distress’

By Sam Hall in Local People

ANOTHER bid to establish the details of Teignbridge Council’s former chief executive’s generous pay-off has failed.

The district authority – which prides itself on being open and transparent – once again failed to divulge Nicola Bulbeck’s leaving package.

It is understood the former ­barrister, who left her post on June 9, departed with £160,000 towards her pension and £160,000 ­redundancy pay.

Last month the Mid-Devon Advertiser lodged a Freedom of Information request with the authority to confirm the figures, which were released by a ­whistleblower.

But the bid was unsuccessful and the paper gave the council time to change its mind and share the details before appealing the ­decision. But yet again senior ­officers remained tight-lipped.

Head of paid services Phil Shears, who is now running the council, said in a letter to the paper: ‘There has been an internal review of the ­original decision and the council upholds the decision to refuse ­disclosure.

‘In considering whether to release the information, I have asked “would the disclosure cause ­unnecessary or unjustified distress or damage to the person to whom the information relates?” – and the answer is yes.’

Ms Bulbeck caused uproar last year when she was given a ­whopping 12 per cent pay rise which saw her total remuneration package soar up to just under £142,000.

Mr Shears added: ‘The ­information concerns the former chief executive’s private life because it clearly relates to her ­identity and financial standing.’

The Mid-Devon Advertiser is appealing against the council’s decision to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

POLITICAL chiefs stand accused of being desperate to dodge scrutiny after new figures emerged showing journalists are having more Freedom of Information requests rejected than other applicants.

The statistics, obtained by the Scottish Labour Party, show a 47 per cent rejection rate for members of the press compared with 38 per cent for all requests.

Glasgow’s Sunday Herald reported that almost half of all requests made to the Scottish Government in the 2015/16 financial year by the media were partially or fully refused.

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R Atepayer · 5 days ago · Report

The distress will go on a lot longer if the council does not come clean about this.

A Ratepayer · 6 days ago · Report

This is an absolute disgrace. This entire council should be disbanded and its functions transferred to Devon County Council. This is a complete affront to democracy and public accountability and residents should with hold rate payments until this flagrant misuse of public money has been properly investigated and dealt with.

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