Derbyshire County Council (DCC) remains tight-lipped over the mysterious departure of its former Chief Executive.
The authority has failed to provide answers to a Freedom of Information request by the Derbyshire Times on why Nick Hodgson left his £152,000 a year role in June.
Stonewalling us, DCC confirmed that Mr Hodgson and the council had entered into an agreement under which the terms of his exit would “remain confidential”.
It added: “The council acknowledges that the public has a legitimate interest in understanding why a senior employee has left a public body.
“However, it would not be fair to disclose to you any further information about the reasons for Mr Hodgson leaving because he has entered into an agreement with the council.”
In addition, the authority snubbed our second question on whether Mr Hodgson departed with a payout, but it said “the full amount he is receiving” would be revealed in next year’s council accounts.
Jonathan Isaby, political director of campaign group the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “Derbyshire residents have every right to know about the circumstances of Mr Hodgson’s departure from the council, especially if he has left the authority with a large chunk of their cash.
“Far too often in the public sector we are seeing people being given taxpayer-funded golden goodbyes, even if they have departed under a cloud or in mysterious circumstances.
“Derbyshire residents should not only be entitled to know the value of any payoff given to Mr Hodgson, but also whether he was subject to a compromise agreement.
“These gagging orders effectively buy the silence of former employees and completely go against the principle of openness and transparency which should be paramount for any public body that is spending taxpayers’ money.”
A DCC spokesman was unable to confirm if Mr Hodgson was subject to a compromise agreement.
They added: “As explained in our response to your Freedom of Information request, we’re legally prevented from revealing details but we can confirm that it was agreed that Nick Hodgson leave the county council at the beginning of June and terms of the agreement remain confidential.
“The details of any payment made to him will be included in the council’s accounts which will be available in June 2014.”
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