Scilly’s Chief Executive Won’t Get Pay For Accrued Leave

Council chief executive, Philip Hygate

The Council Chief Executive, Philip Hygate, won’t be paid all of the £40,000 he could claim for around 100 days of untaken holiday entitlement, which goes back to the days of the Cita disaster in 1997.

Council Chairman Mike Hicks wouldn’t reveal last night’s decision. He said he would be writing to the Chief Executive today to tell him the outcome.

But we understand that members wouldn’t support paying out that amount, although he will be able to take some of the time off.

On leaving the meeting, Gordon Bilsborough said he was pleased with how the meeting went.

Members with whom we spoke said that the policy of only allowing five days roll-over leave, unless circumstances are exceptional, would now be strictly enforced.

Some Councillors are expecting Mr Hygate to challenge their decision.

Deputy Chief Executive Neville Gardner also has accrued leave that he has not taken.

The Chairman of the Islands’ Council excluded the press and public from the hour-long debate last night. Mike told people gathered in the Old Wesleyan Chapel that he favours transparency but he made his decision following legal advice from two sources including the Local Government Association in London.

The exclusion of the public was challenged by the BBC. They argued that Mr Hygate had been questioned earlier in the day on BBC Cornwall and featured on TV’s Spotlight programme discussing the issue. They said the issue was now in the public domain and the debate should be public.

Cllrs Bilsborough and McCarthy agreed. The members both thought there was so much local interest in the matter, the media should be able to report it.

Gordon thought the members should decide whether there was a public discussion not Mike Hicks alone, but accepted there were legal implications.

In April we reported that the auditor’s report had warned the Council that leave rules were not being adhered to and a total of £225,000 was owed to employees for 790 days of annual leave entitlement that had been carried forward.

But after last night’s meeting, Mike Hicks says he knew nothing of the leave matter until this summer and he still doesn’t know how the Chief Executive has accrued so much leave.

Staff holidays are usually authorised by a line manager but just how the Mr Hygates’ leave is authorised isn’t clear. Mike wouldn’t answer questions about that.

Philip Hygate was not present for the session and Mike says there will be a statement about the matter.


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