LATEST: Chief executive leaves Cheshire East Council with £93k golden handshake (From Crewe Guardian)
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LATEST: Chief executive leaves Cheshire East Council with £93k golden handshake
CHESHIRE East Council’s chief executive has left the authority with a golden handshake of more than £90,000.
Erika Wenzel has left her post by ‘mutual agreement’ following an extended period of sick leave since March 19.
The package will cost taxpayers £93,550.
Ms Wenzel was appointed to the role in October 2008, prior to the formation of the new Cheshire East Council in April 2009.
She led the authority through the transition from two-tier local government - bringing together the former boroughs of Crewe and Nantwich, Macclesfield and Congleton along with half of the Cheshire County Council - to form the new unitary authority of Cheshire East.
Council Leader Michael Jones said: "I had limited experience of working with Erika, but I have huge respect for anyone who has built a business from scratch and people tell me that she achieved much in those first three years.
“I now wish her a speedy recovery and I am sure that that she will see that the hard work and commitment that she gave to the council will provide a solid foundation for great things to come.
“I am pleased that a mutual agreement has been reached with Ms Wenzel. I am fully aware that the amount of £93,550 that has been agreed for Erika’s departure will give rise to much comment.
“It should be noted that a substantial element of this relates to contractual notice and I would point out that this is significantly less than the average of £256,000 paid in respect of chief executives who left their posts by agreement as revealed in the most recent study by the Audit Commission, and vastly less than the £589,000 that Kent County Council’s Chief Executive recently received.
“I do appreciate though that, in these austere times, many people may feel that this is still a lot of money, but I can promise that we have given careful thought and consideration as to what will give the best outcome for the taxpayers of Cheshire East.”
As chief executive of the third largest unitary authority in the north west, Ms Wenzel played a key part in facilitating the relocation of several large international companies to the area.
She was also heavily involved with the council campaign to reduce harm to health caused by alcohol.
Ms Wenzel added: "One of my proudest moments was when I walked through the doors of Westfields in Sandbach on April 1, 2009, as chief executive of the brand-new Cheshire East Council.
“I am so proud of the staff at Cheshire East, who never ceased to amaze me with their hard work, tenacity and commitment. Without their support, my job would have been a lot harder and I would like to thank them personally.”
In April, it was reported that Ms Wenzel was paid £173,000 but when her pension benefits and expenses allowances are included the job was worth £220,000.
Prime Minister David Cameron’s salary is £142,500.