A senior Harrogate Borough Council officer who was responsible for the authority’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and left suddenly during the first lockdown was paid £55,065.
Paul Campbell, who was director of community for three and a half years, was paid the sum as part of a compensation for loss of office, according to the authority’s latest statement of accounts.
Mr Campbell’s departure came just days after the first national lockdown was announced. As part of his role, he was the authority’s gold commander for emergency planning which would have included responding to the pandemic.
According to the statement of accounts, £20,650 was included in the sum as a payment in lieu of notice. The director of community has an annual salary of £89,727.
The document also said the role of director of community was vacant from March 29. The council has since not replaced Mr Campbell.
- Questions over sudden departure of Harrogate council department head
- Plans in to transform Crescent Gardens into offices
The Stray Ferret asked the borough council what the circumstances were around his departure, how it arrived at the payment sum and how his leaving impacted on the council’s covid response.
A spokeswoman for Harrogate Borough Council said:
“We don’t comment on HR issues relating to individual members of staff.
“The director of community role responsibilities are being shared by the other directors. The director of community’s departure had no effect on the council’s response to the pandemic.”
While no explanation has been given for Mr Campbell’s departure, a source who worked closely with him told the Stray Ferret at the time:
“After three and a half years Paul had seen so many budget cuts and cost saving reviews of waste services, the street cleaning service and the parks service, that I think he was planning to move on.
“I think he delayed it because he had the opportunity to work on the UCI championships and to establish the council’s housing company and push up the level of affordable housing.”
Mr Campbell’s role included overseeing a range of council services range including housing, parks, waste and health and safety.
He was also lead director for the UCI World Cycling Championships, which cost the council more than £600,000 and saw global audiences of more than 300 million. However, it left many town retailers unhappy and caused damage to the West Park Stray – which later cost the council £130,000 to restore.