COUNCIL workers employed by Pembrokeshire County Council have expressed their shock at the bumper pay-off for the authority’s out-going chief executive, according to public services union, Unison.

Chief executive Ian Westley is expected to leave by the end of November.

He was appointed chief executive in July 2015, having held the post of acting head of paid service for several months previously.

Mr Westley took over from controversial former chief executive Bryn Parry-Jones, who left with a substantial pay off in October 2014.

A printed decision stating that director of resources Jon Haswell, in consultation with council leader Cllr David Simpson and cabinet, approves a £95,000 payment to Mr Westley “in accordance with the settlement agreement” was dated September 1.

Unison has criticised council executives for a claimed lack of transparency in the decision and said paying thousands of pounds was offensive to low paid care workers, school support staff and others, who have worked tirelessly through the pandemic.

Jonathan Lewis, Unison Pembrokeshire branch secretary, said: “£95,000 is a lottery-size win and an incomprehensibly large amount of money for the thousands of low paid council staff who have continued to serve their community throughout the lockdown in very difficult circumstances.

“This deal was agreed behind closed doors and gives the impression the council is awash with money when the reality is key community services have been reduced by spending cuts.

“Council executives need a reality check. Their decision represents a crass lack of awareness for what their employees and local people have been going through for the last six months. Unison is calling for an immediate review of the pay-off.”

A spokesman for Pembrokeshire County Council said: “Pembrokeshire County Council Chief Executive Ian Westley is to leave the authority by mutual consent, and therefore his departure is subject to a settlement agreement, details of which were published on the council’s website.

“The matter was discussed with the council leader and his cabinet and a unanimous decision was reached.

“The correct and proper procedures have been adhered to throughout the negotiations.

“Within hours of the recorded decision being signed, the relevant information – including the settlement amount - was placed into the public domain via the publication on the council’s website.”

Pembrokeshire County Council’s Conservative group has also called for an explanation why a £95,000 settlement has been made.