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Council leader defends six-figure pay out to former Tower Hamlets chief executive

PUBLISHED: 13:00 28 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:57 05 October 2010

THE council leader insists the Town Hall was mindful of tax payers money, despite criticism from an independent watchdog over its handling of the departure of its former chief executive. In an Audit commission report district auditor Jon Hayes criticis

THE council leader insists the Town Hall was "mindful" of tax payers' money, despite criticism from an independent watchdog over its handling of the departure of its former chief executive.

In an Audit commission report district auditor Jon Hayes criticised Tower Hamlets for not considering ways of lessening the cost to the public purse of the termination of Martin Smith's employment.

Mr Smith called in his union following a meeting with council leader Lutfur Rahman, and following negotiations received a settlement of over £300,000.

Cllr Rahman said: "In reaching a settlement with Mr Smith, the council followed all established national procedures and was, of course, mindful of the prudent use of taxpayers' money.

"We nonetheless welcome the Audit Commission's constructive comments and are always happy to revisit our procedures to see if any improvements are possible."

Mr Hayes criticised the council for not taking legal and financial advice earlier,

and concluded that as a result the council may have incurred costs in reaching an agreement with the former chief executive that could have been avoided.


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