Time to outlaw pay-outs to public servants

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

A little bit of me feels sorry for beleaguered Metro mayor James Palmer.

The head of the unwanted and unloved (but snappily titled) Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CA) is under fire after the resignation - with £94,500 in his back pocket - of chief executive Martin Whiteley.

The reason a little bit of me (it must be part of my big heart!) feels sorry for him is that many other public organisations have done this sort of deal without creating anywhere near the furore this one has caused.

The reason most of me doesn’t have any sympathy with him is because these deals are just plain wrong and the public is sick and tired of seeing their hard-earned cash used in this way.

Mr Palmer’s compounded his problems when giving an interview about the pay-out claiming that members of the Cambridgeshire public were not “even slightly interested’’ in it.

He is so wrong about that. Members of the Cambridgeshire public were probably not even slightly interested in the combined authority, but one sure way to engage them is to hand out their cash like confetti to already very well paid people.

Mr Palmer said there was a ‘reason’ the agreement reached between Mr Whiteley’s legal representatives and the CA had not been made public.

It is possible – although we don’t know because it’s not been made public – that a Non-Disclosure agreement has been made.

We are of course entering Catch-22 or even through the looking glass territory here.

These sort of deals when public money is involved should be outlawed.

They won’t be, of course, because the people who could make it happen know one day they might need one themselves.