Northern Ireland

Mid and East Antrim council paying equivilent of £275K a year for temporary chief executive

MEA council offices in Ballymena
MEA council offices in Ballymena

Mid and East Antrim council is forking out £1,060 a day - the equivalent of £275,600 a year - for the new interim chief executive Mark Parkinson.

Mr Parkinson is expected to take up his new post on Monday and as part of his package the council is paying out £5,300 a week.

It has been reported flights to and from his home in Britain and hotel accommodation while in the north will also be covered.

In a statement the council last night said Mr Parkinson will not receive the entire fee.

"The interim role is contracted through an executive employment business at a daily rate to Council of £1,060 plus vat, however, this is not the amount received by the interim chief executive," a spokesman said.

“As agreed by the recruitment panel and full council, the candidate’s business expenses will be met by council for the duration of this appointment.”

Mr Parkinson was recruited after Chief Executive Anne Donaghy was last year placed on precautionary suspension ahead of an independent investigation into claims of bullying and harassment.

Since her suspension the council had been run by director of operations Philip Thompson.

The council spokesman added that the "interim chief executive post is in place pending the return of the chief executive or deputy chief executive".

It has been reported by Belfast Live that Mr Thompson is expected to be in post for at least six months, initially working five days a week.

Ms Donaghy's salary is £117,000 and it is understood she continues to be paid that amount while suspended.

Ms Donaghy is taking legal action against the council on disability grounds.

She is also claiming discrimination on grounds of her sex and her religious and political beliefs.

With a wealth of experience working in local government Mr Parkinson previously held the position of Deputy Chief Executive at Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.

Prior to that he was the Deputy Chief Executive at Shepway District Council and served as Deputy Chief Executive at Exeter City Council.