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Pembrokeshire council’s leader did not have “proper authority” to agree a pay-off to outgoing the chief executive last year with a special meeting to discuss the legality of the steps taken next week.

A report of the deputy monitoring officer focussing the “issue of the lawfulness of the decision to enter into the settlement agreement” will be discussed at an extraordinary council meeting on Monday, October 11 with members to decide whether to go into private session.

The deputy monitoring officer’s view is that entry into the settlement agreement and payment of £95,000 to Ian Westley “gave rise to a contravention of an enactment” relating to the division of the executive and council.

The public report adds that responsibility for the appointment and dismissal of the council staff – including an “agreed termination of employment”- is a non-executive function and a matter for council, or a committee or officer exercising powers delegated by it to decide.

It states the decision “was not one which could properly be taken by the Leader or any other individual councillor, and was one which needed to be taken by Full Council. Since this did not occur, there was no proper authority at the relevant time, either for the Settlement Agreement to be entered into on behalf of the Authority, or for the Payment to be made to the former Chief Executive.”

What happens next will be discussed at Monday’s meeting with legal advice and more detailed information included in confidential reports.

The payout is also being investigated by Audit Wales.

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