The West of England Combined Authority’s (WECA’s) top boss has left the organisation with a £219,000 golden handshake, it has been announced.
Chief executive Patricia Greer had been on sick leave since last November but officially parted company on Thursday 31st August.
Her departure comes two months after the Local Democracy Reporting Service revealed that WECA was paying two chief execs at the same time for at least seven months.
Dr Greer remained on full salary while Richard Ennis received £124,467 as acting interim for the four months between 1st December last year and 31st March 2023, which is as far as the annual accounts go.
The payoff for Dr Greer, who earned £164,682 in 2022/23, plus £23,550 in employer’s pension contributions, equates to 16 months’ salary.
The announcement was made by the combined authority in a two-line press release.
It said: “The chief executive of the West of England Combined Authority, Dr Patricia Greer, will be leaving her role today.
“Dr Greer was instrumental in establishing the combined authority and in securing significant funding for the region, in excess of £2billion.
“Dr Greer is receiving a payment of £219,000.”
It is understood that Mr Ennis is continuing in the role on a temporary basis while the process to find a permanent replacement gets underway.
Mr Ennis was paid a total of £268,410 for three senior temporary roles he held at WECA from 1st April, last year, to 31st March 2023.
That figure is what he received and does not include the additional money WECA paid to a third party – likely to be a recruitment agency – for his services.
Councillors on the cross-party audit committee expressed concerns in July that the authority, which comprises Bristol, South Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset councils, had been paying two chief executives at the same time for the previous seven months, as confirmed by WECA in June.
Mr Ennis stepped up to Dr Greer’s position on an interim basis at the start of December from his previous role as interim director of investment and corporate services.
As an agency worker or contractor, Mr Ennis does not receive pension contributions or pay for holiday or sick leave.
Dr Greer was appointed WECA’s first chief executive, the most senior officer, when the organisation was formed in 2017.
Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporter