AS HACKNEY council embarks on staff cuts and other reductions to its annual budget, Loving Dalston has learnt that a senior officer walked away with almost £200,000 for less than two years’ work.
Belinda Black, whose job title was corporate director (customer and corporate services), earned £45,211 for less than five months’ work and on leaving was paid an extra £135,462 as, says the council, “compensation for loss of office”.
The council added £6,438 in pension contribution to take her total payoff to £187,111.
No successor has been hired. Hackney aims to cut its budget by £100 million over the next four years.
Black is now “interim director” for customer services and transactions at nearby Newham council.
Local taxpayers may remember Black as the official who had to apologise last summer for Hackney call-centre’s telling enquirers that no Conservative candidate was standing in the borough’s mayoral election.
Hackney council’s legal and democratic services department (the “democratic” bit is unlikely to be an attempt at irony) threatened to seek an injunction against a local free newspaper that placed a recording of one of the calls on the internet, even though Andrew Boff, a Boris Johnson aide, was standing for the Tories.
The audio clip is still on line. Hackney quietly abandoned its legal blustering.
The council told Loving Dalston this week that Black’s departure “was in no way connected with the matter concerning the 2010 Conservative mayoral candidacy”.
An official said that Black left Hackney last August 2010 “after a year in post as corporate director for customer and corporate services”, when the customer and corporate services section was being disbanded.
The official did not explain why the council gave the executive compensation of almost £200,000 for a year-and-a-half’s work.
John O’Connell of the TaxPayers’ Alliance told Loving Dalston: “If these figures are correct, it will be a huge blow for taxpayers in Hackney. It’s crucial that the council get costs under control, and that includes big pay-offs.”
David Altheer 270711