Request for Early Voluntary Retirement
The Director of Law, HR and Asset Management submitted a report which sought the Committee’s approval for the release of Mr J Wilkie, Chief Executive, under Early Voluntary Retirement (EVR) on 7 June 2012.
The Council had in place an Acting Chief Executive and Head of Paid Service as agreed at Annual Council (Part 2) 21 May, 2012 (minute 14 refers) which had agreed that, “The Director of Finance continue in his role as Deputy Chief Executive and therefore Acting Chief Executive (and Head of Paid Service) during the absence of the Chief Executive.”
The Leader of the Conservative Group expressed concern over the handling of this request by Mr Wilkie. It was then moved by Councillor Jeff Green and seconded by Councillor Lesley Rennie, that –
“This Committee notes:
(1) The contribution and service Mr Wilkie has given to the people of Wirral over the past 23 years.
(2) The decision of Mr Wilkie, advised by the Director of Finance and the Director of Law, HR and Asset Management, to allow two members of staff to leave, under compromise agreements, less than one working day prior to the publication of the AKA report without bringing any potential disciplinary issues to the attention of this Committee.
(3) That queries raised by myself as Leader of the Conservative Group and subsequently as Leader of the Council in response to the report of Mr Wilkie: Agenda Item 15, ‘Interim Management Arrangements’ at the meeting held on 29 September, 2011 remain unanswered.
(4) That if this retirement goes ahead these matters may remain secret and unanswered.
Therefore this Committee believes that until these matters are adequately reported to this Committee and Members have had the opportunity to express a view it is clearly inappropriate to approve the extra cost and request for Early Voluntary Retirement from Mr Wilkie.”
The Leader of the Council asked if Mr Wilkie had made any direct communication with the Council. The Head of HR and Organisational Development confirmed that she had a record to the effect that Mr Wilkie, had on 7 February, 2012, had a conversation with the Leader expressing his request for EVR on the basis that it would be in the best interests of the Council to appoint a new Chief Executive. Mr Wilkie had been asked to reflect on his decision and had had informal conversations with all 3 Party Leaders. On 11 May, he had written to formally request early voluntary retirement, “in light of the exceptional challenges facing the Council I feel that I should make way for someone else to take forward the changes that need to be made.”
Councillor Gilchrist expressed the view that as Mr Wilkie had made known his views that he didn’t feel he was the best person to take the Council forward it would not be helpful to have any uncertainty over the post of Chief Executive and therefore he could not support Councillor Green’s motion.
The Leader of the Council put on record his thanks to Mr Wilkie for all his work with the Council over the last 23 years and he stated that should the request be approved he would be seeking to have an early meeting with Councillors Jeff Green and Tom Harney about how the Council would fill the post of Chief Executive.
The Head of HR and Organisational Development clarified for the Committee that the proposed EVR would be under the normal Council rules without any enhancement.
Councillor Green’s motion was then put to the vote and it was lost (3:6).
It was then moved by Councillor Phil Davies and seconded by Councillor Ann McLachlan, that –
“The Early Voluntary Retirement of Mr Wilkie on 7 June 2012 and the release of his pension on the grounds of efficiency of the service be approved.”
The motion was put and carried (6:3).
Resolved (6:3) – That the Early Voluntary Retirement of Mr Wilkie on 7 June 2012 and the release of his pension on the grounds of efficiency of the service be approved.