Hackney Council chief’s pay-off branded ‘outrageous’

Figures showing that a Hackney Council chief pocketed a pay-off of more than �140,000 after just over a year on the job have angered taxpayers and public sector workers.

The town hall’s accounts for the last financial year show Belinda Black, who worked as Hackney’s director of customer and corporate services from March 2009, received a golden goodbye of more than �135,000 when she left in August 2010 after her department was disbanded.

Added to this was a pension contribution of more than �6,000, taking her pay-off to more than �140,000 - on top of a salary of more than �127,000 a year.

The costs, first reported by Hackney blog Loving Dalston, come as Hackney Council is forced to find more than �47million in cutbacks this financial year.

The libraries service must find �100,000 worth of savings by Christmas in order to avoid complusory staff cuts.

Matthew Waterfall, secretary of Hackney’s branch of public sector trade union Unison, said: “To think that with all the cuts going on Belinda Black walked away with that amount of money is outrageous.

“Unfortunately my members would not be surprised about management creaming off large sums of money, but they will be fuming.”

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John O’Connell of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said the size of this payout was a huge blow for taxpayers in Hackney.

“Of course departing staff will be entitled to a redundancy payment but it’s crucial that the council get costs under control, and that includes big pay-offs,” he said.

“Taxpayers want their cash spent on services, not over-generous cheques for execs.”

But Ms Black responded, saying: “I was made redundant by Hackney Council after nearly 30 years in local government, so the amount I was paid was on that basis.”

A Hackney Council spokeswoman said she could not comment on the personal circumstances of individual employees, as it would be in breach of the Data Protection Act 1998, but that the calculations for compensation and redundancy pay-outs were made on the basis of age and length of service.

“The changes to the senior management structure reflected an overall desire of ensuring the council was well-placed to protect frontline services and manage the impact of the government’s spending cuts,” she said.